Government defends £1.465m deficit funding for two Norwich academy schools

Ormiston Victory Academy in Costessey. Photo: Bill Smith

Ormiston Victory Academy in Costessey. Photo: Bill Smith - Credit: Archant © 2013

The Department for Education has denied favouritism after it emerged it gave two Norfolk academies £1.465m in deficit funding, but none to maintained schools.

Ormiston Victory Academy in Costessey received £1m in 2011-12, and a further £235,000 the following year, while Norfolk's first academy, The Open Academy, in Norwich, received £230,000 in 2011-12.

They were among 22 academies in England to receive such payments.

According to information obtained under Freedom of Information Act by Rob Mackinlay, of the New School Finance blog, Victory's money was 'to support the academy at a time of falling rolls and replace depleted IT, premises and infrastructure inherited from predecessor school. In addition a number of complex financial arrangements between the local authority and the predecessor school had to be met'.

Open Academy's funding was 'support for one-off re-structuring costs and cover for staff absence'.

Norfolk County Council said no local authority maintained school had received an emergency handout from the DfE over the same period, while the head of another Norfolk academy said: 'This is a real surprise to me, I did not know about this funding stream.'

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A DfE spokesman said: 'Deficit funding is decided on a case-by-case basis and is only provided in rare circumstances where schools are facing significant financial pressures.

'It is only provided once a robust and affordable recovery plan is in place. This allows schools to focus on providing a high quality education, preparing children for life in modern Britain.'

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