School £500,000 in the red

COUNCIL purseholders have been meeting with education chiefs after it was revealed a local school is nearly £500,000 in the red. Shocked governors at

COUNCIL purseholders have been meeting with education chiefs after it was revealed a local school is nearly £500,000 in the red.Shocked governors at St Katherine's Secondary School in Pill, were told of the massive hole in the school's finances at a closed doors meeting on Friday.It is understood the financial irregularities were discovered by headteacher Stephanie Quayle in May.The headteacher and governors are now meeting with education chiefs in a bid to agree a staged financial recovery plan.A new business manager for the school has also been appointed, taking up the £42,000 a year post at the beginning of this month.St Katherine's School headteacher Stephanie Quayle, who has been in the post for a year, said: "For a number of years we have had a projected income that was over ambitious and a projected spending which was over estimated."We are agreeing a staged plan over a number of years that will result in a balanced budget."I am confident that we can improve the budget without in anyway compromising the high standards at St Katherine's."The quality of teaching and learning will continue to improve."Governors have said they are confident they will be able to reduce the deficit through greater efficiency and improved financial practice.Ms Quayle added: "We have just had some of our best ever examination results and more and more of our students are choosing to stay at the school to study in our new sixth form centre."That trend will, in itself, help to improve the school's finances." North Somerset Council spokesman Zoe Briffitt said: "We can confirm that St Katherine's Secondary School does have a deficit budget position."There is no single reason for this and the deficit has arisen because of a number of factors."The manner in which schools are funded enables the school to work with the council to come up with solutions to bring about a balanced budget position over a number of years."Deficit budget positions do sometimes occur in schools and the council does have experience of working with schools to bring about balanced budgets."Parents should be assured that maintaining the high standards offered by St Katherine's School will be central to discussions in relation of the budget position of the school.