Southampton head teachers fear being forced to 'bail out' city council over PFI building contracts

Daily Echo: Cantell Maths and Computing College Cantell Maths and Computing College

FURIOUS Southampton head teachers have condemned “outrageously unfair” plans to slash nearly half a million pounds from their budgets to help bail out the cash-strapped council.

Primary and secondary schools across the city are facing losing thousands of pounds a year to cover the spiralling costs of a rebuilding project from a decade ago.

Heads have already angrily rejected a plea from council bosses to cover the £1.2m annual shortfall in the 30-year £80m deal to pay for replacement schools at Cantell, Redbridge and Woodlands.

They were built under controversial public-private funding agreements. Civic chiefs desperate to plug a £42m hole in their budget over the next two years have now asked schools to collectively pay £450,000 towards the Private Finance Initiative (PFI) contract.

The plea is part of draft budget proposals due to be announced next week.

Some schools will not have to pay anything, but Bitterne Park School is facing a £54,500 cut.

Head Susan Trigger said the cash could pay for one-and-a-half teachers for the year.

She said: “It’s completely, outrageously unfair. We were allocated £650,000 out of a citywide pot for wear and tear maintenance, and that’s already been cut from us, and now we’re being told this.

“We can only budget for what we have got, and then the rug is pulled from under us.

“Despite being asked to commit this money we’ve had very little explanation. It’s not the fault of the schools that have been left behind.”

The Daily Echo understands there are many more head teachers across the city who feel just as strongly.

The money would be paid to Interserve, which describes itself as “one of the world’s foremost support services and construction companies”. It already receives Government grants and £1.5m a year from the three rebuilt schools.

Initially the council agreed to pick up a £700,000 shortfall, but that has risen to £1.2m a year through inflation and additional services being purchased, while the cash from the Government has remained unchanged. Southampton’s education boss Cllr Sarah Bogle said last night that other councils have passed on PFI costs to schools since contracts were signed, and the plans are part of a wider review of school funding, and the authority’s efforts to balance the books.

She said: “No decision has been made, and won’t be for quite some time. Schools have been asked to consider it.

“I completely understand why schools are concerned, but it’s a choice between that and making redundancies.”

Deputy Conservative group leader and education spokesman Cllr Jeremy Moulton said he would look to have any move to impose the costs on schools brought before the council’s scrutiny panel, which he chairs.

He said: “It’s a bit naughty, and not really fair. For ten years the council has been paying it and the schools have been led to believe it’s not a cost for them, so it’s come out of the blue and hit them.

“I do totally understand where the council is coming from – it has got to save cash. But we’ve got to try to reach a consensus and not overrule the schools.”

Who will pay?

  • A total of 50 primaries and six secondaries are being asked to cover £450,000 of the £1.2m PFI shortfall.
  • Secondary schools would contribute £104,267 in total, and primaries £345,653.
  • Nine primaries and three secondaries would lose more than £10,000 each from their budgets.
  • Six secondary schools and 11 primaries would pay nothing, because taking cash would reduce their funding below national minimums.
  • The worst-affected secondary, Bitterne Park, would pay £54,562. n Ludlow Junior School would pay the most of any primary – £26,045.

What is PFI?

Private Finance Initiatives are schemes used to help build schools, hospitals and other public buildings.

They typically involve firms building and maintaining facilities, which are then paid for from public funds over the course of a contract, which usually runs for 25-30 years.

The current Government has vowed to come up with a replacement funding model, after claims from politicians, including Chancellor George Osborne and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, that they fail to provide good value for money.

Comments (12)

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5:27pm Tue 2 Oct 12

Maine Lobster says...

Warnings were given over the high cost of PFI's for future years and it seems these are coming home to roost. Private finance does not fund these projects to be community minded, it does so to make big profits and Governments and Councils fall for the bait.
Warnings were given over the high cost of PFI's for future years and it seems these are coming home to roost. Private finance does not fund these projects to be community minded, it does so to make big profits and Governments and Councils fall for the bait. Maine Lobster
  • Score: 0

5:57pm Tue 2 Oct 12

Paramjit Bahia says...

Is this going to happen under same NuLabour whose hero Tony Blair misled the whole nation with sound bite of convenience "Edacation Edacation & Education"???

Was it not NuLabour's Brown who encouraged schools and hospitals to hang the mill stone of super expensive PFI around their necks?

Now rather than helping schools the same Party has the cheek to start starving schools of of funds, which are already very tight.

This ruthless proposal not only becomes huge hypocrisy even according to very low mentality of unprincipled NuLabour's poor standrads but it is also making complete mockery of lip service paid to future of youth by NuLabour's Leader Ed Milliband in Manchester today.

Considering Milliband has made it clear that he in fact is inspired not by socialism but by Tory Disreali, what Dear Leader Williams led NuLabourites are doing in Southampton to our schools is hardly surprising. After all during Disreali's time education of ordinary people's children was not exactly the top priority of his govt.
Is this going to happen under same NuLabour whose hero Tony Blair misled the whole nation with sound bite of convenience "Edacation Edacation & Education"??? Was it not NuLabour's Brown who encouraged schools and hospitals to hang the mill stone of super expensive PFI around their necks? Now rather than helping schools the same Party has the cheek to start starving schools of of funds, which are already very tight. This ruthless proposal not only becomes huge hypocrisy even according to very low mentality of unprincipled NuLabour's poor standrads but it is also making complete mockery of lip service paid to future of youth by NuLabour's Leader Ed Milliband in Manchester today. Considering Milliband has made it clear that he in fact is inspired not by socialism but by Tory Disreali, what Dear Leader Williams led NuLabourites are doing in Southampton to our schools is hardly surprising. After all during Disreali's time education of ordinary people's children was not exactly the top priority of his govt. Paramjit Bahia
  • Score: 0

6:01pm Tue 2 Oct 12

Over the Edge says...

Maine Lobster wrote:
Warnings were given over the high cost of PFI's for future years and it seems these are coming home to roost. Private finance does not fund these projects to be community minded, it does so to make big profits and Governments and Councils fall for the bait.
Totally agree with you, although they provided what was needed at the time, especially the new school in Harefield, the on-going costs of these are an absolute joke, very similar to council contracts being given to companies such as Capita, you reap what you sow.
[quote][p][bold]Maine Lobster[/bold] wrote: Warnings were given over the high cost of PFI's for future years and it seems these are coming home to roost. Private finance does not fund these projects to be community minded, it does so to make big profits and Governments and Councils fall for the bait.[/p][/quote]Totally agree with you, although they provided what was needed at the time, especially the new school in Harefield, the on-going costs of these are an absolute joke, very similar to council contracts being given to companies such as Capita, you reap what you sow. Over the Edge
  • Score: 0

6:17pm Tue 2 Oct 12

Maine Lobster says...

Over the Edge wrote:
Maine Lobster wrote:
Warnings were given over the high cost of PFI's for future years and it seems these are coming home to roost. Private finance does not fund these projects to be community minded, it does so to make big profits and Governments and Councils fall for the bait.
Totally agree with you, although they provided what was needed at the time, especially the new school in Harefield, the on-going costs of these are an absolute joke, very similar to council contracts being given to companies such as Capita, you reap what you sow.
We sing from the same hymn sheet!
[quote][p][bold]Over the Edge[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Maine Lobster[/bold] wrote: Warnings were given over the high cost of PFI's for future years and it seems these are coming home to roost. Private finance does not fund these projects to be community minded, it does so to make big profits and Governments and Councils fall for the bait.[/p][/quote]Totally agree with you, although they provided what was needed at the time, especially the new school in Harefield, the on-going costs of these are an absolute joke, very similar to council contracts being given to companies such as Capita, you reap what you sow.[/p][/quote]We sing from the same hymn sheet! Maine Lobster
  • Score: 0

6:55pm Tue 2 Oct 12

debs1909 says...

Let me get this straight, its saying 6 secondary school have to pay towards it so why is ONE school paying over half?????
How is that fair?
Let me get this straight, its saying 6 secondary school have to pay towards it so why is ONE school paying over half????? How is that fair? debs1909
  • Score: 0

9:00pm Tue 2 Oct 12

MGRA says...

this is nothing..... have a poke into HCC contracts with "maintenance" firms... see how much it costs primary schools to have roofs fixed.... there is a scandal waiting to be uncovered... also see how many primary schools with a flat roof get it repaired almost yearly.... Echo do some digging..... ;-)
this is nothing..... have a poke into HCC contracts with "maintenance" firms... see how much it costs primary schools to have roofs fixed.... there is a scandal waiting to be uncovered... also see how many primary schools with a flat roof get it repaired almost yearly.... Echo do some digging..... ;-) MGRA
  • Score: 0

9:15pm Tue 2 Oct 12

loosehead says...

So Labour accuses the last Tory council over a short fall of primary & junior school places & now expect Secondary schools to cut their budgets?
A PFI scheme bought in by a Labour Government & used by a Labour council ?
Now a Labour council want to cut the budgets of schools trying to educate our teenagers to a high enough level to pass their exams?
Yet they're more than willing to pay the strikers who got them into power?
This is a past Labour mess now tell me who was cutting school funding?
Who was cutting services?
Labour said the Tories would do this but they the Labour Party are doing it we the voters were duped big time
So Labour accuses the last Tory council over a short fall of primary & junior school places & now expect Secondary schools to cut their budgets? A PFI scheme bought in by a Labour Government & used by a Labour council ? Now a Labour council want to cut the budgets of schools trying to educate our teenagers to a high enough level to pass their exams? Yet they're more than willing to pay the strikers who got them into power? This is a past Labour mess now tell me who was cutting school funding? Who was cutting services? Labour said the Tories would do this but they the Labour Party are doing it we the voters were duped big time loosehead
  • Score: 0

10:37am Wed 3 Oct 12

Shoong says...

loosehead wrote:
So Labour accuses the last Tory council over a short fall of primary & junior school places & now expect Secondary schools to cut their budgets?
A PFI scheme bought in by a Labour Government & used by a Labour council ?
Now a Labour council want to cut the budgets of schools trying to educate our teenagers to a high enough level to pass their exams?
Yet they're more than willing to pay the strikers who got them into power?
This is a past Labour mess now tell me who was cutting school funding?
Who was cutting services?
Labour said the Tories would do this but they the Labour Party are doing it we the voters were duped big time
That's where a protest vote gets you, we deserve everything we get.
[quote][p][bold]loosehead[/bold] wrote: So Labour accuses the last Tory council over a short fall of primary & junior school places & now expect Secondary schools to cut their budgets? A PFI scheme bought in by a Labour Government & used by a Labour council ? Now a Labour council want to cut the budgets of schools trying to educate our teenagers to a high enough level to pass their exams? Yet they're more than willing to pay the strikers who got them into power? This is a past Labour mess now tell me who was cutting school funding? Who was cutting services? Labour said the Tories would do this but they the Labour Party are doing it we the voters were duped big time[/p][/quote]That's where a protest vote gets you, we deserve everything we get. Shoong
  • Score: 0

10:39am Wed 3 Oct 12

Shoong says...

Paramjit Bahia wrote:
Is this going to happen under same NuLabour whose hero Tony Blair misled the whole nation with sound bite of convenience "Edacation Edacation & Education"???

Was it not NuLabour's Brown who encouraged schools and hospitals to hang the mill stone of super expensive PFI around their necks?

Now rather than helping schools the same Party has the cheek to start starving schools of of funds, which are already very tight.

This ruthless proposal not only becomes huge hypocrisy even according to very low mentality of unprincipled NuLabour's poor standrads but it is also making complete mockery of lip service paid to future of youth by NuLabour's Leader Ed Milliband in Manchester today.

Considering Milliband has made it clear that he in fact is inspired not by socialism but by Tory Disreali, what Dear Leader Williams led NuLabourites are doing in Southampton to our schools is hardly surprising. After all during Disreali's time education of ordinary people's children was not exactly the top priority of his govt.
5 'NuLabours', is this a record?
[quote][p][bold]Paramjit Bahia[/bold] wrote: Is this going to happen under same NuLabour whose hero Tony Blair misled the whole nation with sound bite of convenience "Edacation Edacation & Education"??? Was it not NuLabour's Brown who encouraged schools and hospitals to hang the mill stone of super expensive PFI around their necks? Now rather than helping schools the same Party has the cheek to start starving schools of of funds, which are already very tight. This ruthless proposal not only becomes huge hypocrisy even according to very low mentality of unprincipled NuLabour's poor standrads but it is also making complete mockery of lip service paid to future of youth by NuLabour's Leader Ed Milliband in Manchester today. Considering Milliband has made it clear that he in fact is inspired not by socialism but by Tory Disreali, what Dear Leader Williams led NuLabourites are doing in Southampton to our schools is hardly surprising. After all during Disreali's time education of ordinary people's children was not exactly the top priority of his govt.[/p][/quote]5 'NuLabours', is this a record? Shoong
  • Score: 0

11:26am Wed 3 Oct 12

loosehead says...

Shoong wrote:
loosehead wrote:
So Labour accuses the last Tory council over a short fall of primary & junior school places & now expect Secondary schools to cut their budgets?
A PFI scheme bought in by a Labour Government & used by a Labour council ?
Now a Labour council want to cut the budgets of schools trying to educate our teenagers to a high enough level to pass their exams?
Yet they're more than willing to pay the strikers who got them into power?
This is a past Labour mess now tell me who was cutting school funding?
Who was cutting services?
Labour said the Tories would do this but they the Labour Party are doing it we the voters were duped big time
That's where a protest vote gets you, we deserve everything we get.
What protest vote?
I voted Tory as I trust them & knew that Labour were outright liars
[quote][p][bold]Shoong[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]loosehead[/bold] wrote: So Labour accuses the last Tory council over a short fall of primary & junior school places & now expect Secondary schools to cut their budgets? A PFI scheme bought in by a Labour Government & used by a Labour council ? Now a Labour council want to cut the budgets of schools trying to educate our teenagers to a high enough level to pass their exams? Yet they're more than willing to pay the strikers who got them into power? This is a past Labour mess now tell me who was cutting school funding? Who was cutting services? Labour said the Tories would do this but they the Labour Party are doing it we the voters were duped big time[/p][/quote]That's where a protest vote gets you, we deserve everything we get.[/p][/quote]What protest vote? I voted Tory as I trust them & knew that Labour were outright liars loosehead
  • Score: 0

11:27am Wed 3 Oct 12

Shoong says...

loosehead wrote:
Shoong wrote:
loosehead wrote:
So Labour accuses the last Tory council over a short fall of primary & junior school places & now expect Secondary schools to cut their budgets?
A PFI scheme bought in by a Labour Government & used by a Labour council ?
Now a Labour council want to cut the budgets of schools trying to educate our teenagers to a high enough level to pass their exams?
Yet they're more than willing to pay the strikers who got them into power?
This is a past Labour mess now tell me who was cutting school funding?
Who was cutting services?
Labour said the Tories would do this but they the Labour Party are doing it we the voters were duped big time
That's where a protest vote gets you, we deserve everything we get.
What protest vote?
I voted Tory as I trust them & knew that Labour were outright liars
Don't worry, I wasn't including you in that category!
[quote][p][bold]loosehead[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Shoong[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]loosehead[/bold] wrote: So Labour accuses the last Tory council over a short fall of primary & junior school places & now expect Secondary schools to cut their budgets? A PFI scheme bought in by a Labour Government & used by a Labour council ? Now a Labour council want to cut the budgets of schools trying to educate our teenagers to a high enough level to pass their exams? Yet they're more than willing to pay the strikers who got them into power? This is a past Labour mess now tell me who was cutting school funding? Who was cutting services? Labour said the Tories would do this but they the Labour Party are doing it we the voters were duped big time[/p][/quote]That's where a protest vote gets you, we deserve everything we get.[/p][/quote]What protest vote? I voted Tory as I trust them & knew that Labour were outright liars[/p][/quote]Don't worry, I wasn't including you in that category! Shoong
  • Score: 0

12:34pm Wed 3 Oct 12

loosehead says...

Ehere's all the Tory haters? Surely this is the exact thing you accused the tory party of scheming to do wasn't it?
Cutting services? Cutting school budgets? Paying off you're friends?
Making jobs for the boys?
These are all the things you said the Tory council would do if re-elected yet this isn't a Tory council is it?
200 permanent job losses but 200 temps to go & the permanent workers can take their jobs temporary?
Pay rises for anyone on over £17,500-£22,000 but anyone under £17,500 lose the pay rise & those over £22,000 have to wait for 2 years?
now they're cutting school budgets to pay for their grandiose schemes( Townhill Park an extra £50million?).
The Tories warned you they (Labour) couldn't do it & would have to cut & cut services & jobs as well as put up council tax you of the left called them liars?
WHO's the LIARS now?
vote Tory & keep services keep school budgets & wages would start to be replaced by 2014.
vote Tory & see the city to start to move as it had under a tory council no more asking why can Portsmouth do it but we can't because we were.
Snowdome scrapped because not watery enough for Williams yet would have seen a brand new Rowing club with brand new facilities plus an Ice Rink & snow slopes how was that not water based sports?
Wake Up & see Labour promised the earth & are now taking everything to pay their support base.
Ed Milliband is doing the same will you be duped a second time?
Ehere's all the Tory haters? Surely this is the exact thing you accused the tory party of scheming to do wasn't it? Cutting services? Cutting school budgets? Paying off you're friends? Making jobs for the boys? These are all the things you said the Tory council would do if re-elected yet this isn't a Tory council is it? 200 permanent job losses but 200 temps to go & the permanent workers can take their jobs temporary? Pay rises for anyone on over £17,500-£22,000 but anyone under £17,500 lose the pay rise & those over £22,000 have to wait for 2 years? now they're cutting school budgets to pay for their grandiose schemes( Townhill Park an extra £50million?). The Tories warned you they (Labour) couldn't do it & would have to cut & cut services & jobs as well as put up council tax you of the left called them liars? WHO's the LIARS now? vote Tory & keep services keep school budgets & wages would start to be replaced by 2014. vote Tory & see the city to start to move as it had under a tory council no more asking why can Portsmouth do it but we can't because we were. Snowdome scrapped because not watery enough for Williams yet would have seen a brand new Rowing club with brand new facilities plus an Ice Rink & snow slopes how was that not water based sports? Wake Up & see Labour promised the earth & are now taking everything to pay their support base. Ed Milliband is doing the same will you be duped a second time? loosehead
  • Score: 0

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