New data has revealed that 14 schools in Southampton are facing a deficit of £3.7 million by the end of the financial year.

But Southampton City Council (SCC) cabinet papers showed that as of December 31, the 14 schools’ deficit forecast of £3.7 million was down from £4.5 million at the end of 2022/23.

Being in a financial deficit means the school will be spending more than it earned when factoring in the previous year’s balance.

Among those 14 schools, particularly Compass Alternative Provision and Townhill Junior, are said to be working with the Executive Director for Children and Learning and the council’s finance team to finalise their deficit recovery plans.

Compass Alternative Provision, in Green Lane, received advice during September from a school resource management adviser, provided free of charge by the Department for Education. The results are expected to be incorporated into a recovery plan.

Meanwhile, Townhill Junior in Townhill has produced a plan that must be approved by its board of governors.

The finance team of council schools works with them and offers advice on areas where they need to make changes to return to a surplus.

SCC said that, if necessary, the three-year deficit recovery timetable – which helps schools in deficit to get back to a balanced budget – may be extended to five years for those that have experienced “significant” Covid-19 pressures.

The figures also show that two schools which have been told by school inspectorate Ofsted that they require improvement have a combined projected deficit of £800,000.

On the contrary, 28 schools in the city are projecting a surplus balance of £6.7 million, compared to surpluses totalling £9.5 million last year, resulting in a net surplus of £3million.

Nationally, stats show there has been a significant rise in the number of schools running a negative budget. Some 13.1 per cent of local authority-run schools in England had a deficit in 2022/23 – an almost 50 per cent rise on the year before.

Financial difficulties were especially problematic for nurseries, with almost a third in a deficit across England in 2022/23.