FLINTSHIRE schools look set to face another budget reduction in the coming year, according to a report.

Flintshire Council's education, youth and culture overview and scrutiny committee will meet on Thursday to discuss the council fund budget 2024/25.

A report to the committee explains: "The Welsh Local Government Provisional Settlement was announced on December 20, 2023 as planned with responses to the consultation on the settlement invited by the deadline of February 2.

"A summary of the key headlines were set out in a report to Cabinet on January 16, which also updated on the ‘remaining gap’ of £12.946m which the council will need to bridge to enable it to set a legal and balanced budget.

"All portfolios were asked to revisit their cost base to re-look at potential ways of reducing budgets or removing cost pressures to contribute more to meeting the remaining gap."

The report to the scrutiny committee goes on to detail how such savings are proposed to be made in the education and youth department - including updates on the current proposals for school budgets.

Proposed budget reductions across education and youth services come to some £0.3m - with the largest part being a reduction of 10 per cent in the council's contribution to GwE, the regional school improvement service (which makes up £0.099m of the savings).

Other elements of the proposed £0.3m in savings include reduced numbers of pupils accessing the early entitlement provision, a reduction in core budget for adult community learning and a reduction in expenditure on temporary classrooms due to the end of leases.

Regarding the schools delegated budget, the report explains: "Ensuring our learners receive the highest standards of education in our schools has always, and continues to be, a priority for the council. 

"The council has always sought to protect front line education services (schools’ budget) as far as possible.

"The schools’ budget is the largest budget in the council. 

"The schools delegated budget was reduced by 3 per cent in setting the 2023/24 budget (after fully funding costs pressures for pay and energy inflation and demographic increases). 

"Given the scale of the challenge in being able to set a balanced budget again in 2024/25, a further reduction of 3 per cent is proposed."

At the cabinet meeting on January 16, Flintshire Council Leader Cllr Ian Roberts said he, along with Cllr Mared Eastwood - cabinet member for education, Welsh language, culture and leisure - and chief officer for education, Claire Homard, met with head teachers and chair of governors to set out the council's financial position and discuss how it would impact on schools.

Cllr Roberts told cabinet colleagues: "I have to say the meeting went fairly well.

"Head teachers were... 'resigned' is probably the word.

"The proposed schools budget will have to go through the democratic process."

Cllr Eastwood added: "The context in which the council finds itself was explained and understood by the room.

"I think the cut was anticipated, and some said they were expecting worse.

"Though everyone was clearly disappointed with the decision that had to be made, they did understand."

The report to Thursday's scrutiny committee recommends members "review and comment on" the education and youth portfolio’s options to reduce budgets, as well as the proposals for the delegated schools budget.