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Opt-out heads most likely to expect extra in their budgets

Grant-maintained schools were the most optimistic of all schools about getting more money in their budgets this year and next, according to the survey.

One headteacher of an 11-18 comprehensive school in the South-east said: "Becoming grant-maintained two years ago has temporarily improved the school budget, and the monies the school has had have been used more efficiently. I do not anticipate reducing staffing levels for this coming year, but if there is a further fall in income in real terms the year after, that is 1996-97, it will be very difficult indeed."

Although more than half of schools overall expected to receive less money this year than last, only two-fifths of GM schools expected similar reductions.

A quarter of schools overall expected to get increased funding this year - compared with more than 37 per cent of GM schools. Just 10 per cent of schools expected to get more money next year - although GM schools were still more optimistic, with 12.7 per cent anticipating an increase.

The commonest reason given by schools expecting to lose income over the next two years was a lowered allocation from the local authority - anticipated by more than 70 per cent over schools this year and 80 per cent next.

Insufficient compensation for the teachers' pay rise was also blamed by well over half of schools for lower incomes this year and next.

Schools expecting more money were more likely to do so in anticipation of rising rolls - although a sixth of schools expecting less money were also getting more pupils. About a third of primaries and secondaries anticipating extra cash were getting more local authority money this year, although this dropped dramatically for 1995-96.

Significant numbers of schools were also expecting to get additional money from other sources. One primary even hoped for great things from "letting of new school hall".

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