Cambridgeshire schools are due to receive over £4million less funding than they had been told to expect after a government error.

Cambridgeshire County Council said the reduction in planned funding had “significant implications”, highlighting that the area already received some of the lowest funding per pupil in the country.

A meeting of the council’s children and young people committee this week (October 10) heard that the authority had been told it would be getting £477million in school funding for 2024/25.

However, this has now been reduced to £473million after a government error that saw the Department for Education underestimate the number of pupils in the country.

The government had initially said it would be increasing the amount of school funding per pupil by 2.7 per cent in 2024/25, however, due to the error this increase is now going to be 1.9 per cent per pupil.

Jonathan Lewis, the director of education at the county council, said: “For Cambridgeshire this meant we went from a budget of £477million down to £473million, so a reduction of just over £4million.

“Obviously the implication is that with the pay award and the other challenges that we are facing that is quite a significant implication.

“We are working through at the moment the schools budgets, we will be bringing them to you for consideration in January for final consideration, we will try to bring you a draft in November.

“Per pupil wise we continue to be one of the lowest funded in the country, we remain 136th out of 149 local authorities for our level of funding.

“We are only £130 per pupil above the lowest funded local authority in the country.

“It is going to be very challenging, obviously we are very disappointed with the national picture, but we will have to deal with that and we will obviously advise you on that as we progress the budget setting process.”

The meeting also heard that the county council was facing challenges in other areas with a current overspend of £8.3million of its children in care budget.

Councillor Claire Daunton asked what the authority could do about this overspend, highlighting it had to look after the children who are in its care.

An officer said the majority of the overspend was due to a “small number of exceptionally high cost placements”.

They explained that work was ongoing to look at how the authority can provide the care required, but at a lower cost.