Calls have been made for schools to “redistribute their wealth” after claims that some in Cornwall are holding “significant” levels of financial reserves.

A meeting of the Cornwall Schools Forum this morning heard that there was a concern that money should be spent on meeting the needs of children in Cornwall.

The forum, which brings together officers from Cornwall Council with representatives from schools and Multi Academy Trusts (MATs) across the county, received a report looking at how school balances could be monitored. This was with an aim to ensure that schools are not building up excessive reserves.

Sean Pinhay, from Southerly Point Co-Operative MAT, had earlier told the forum that a shortfall in provision for high needs could be met by using reserves built up by some schools.

He said: “We feel that one way to fund this shortfall is to genuinely look at some of our more wealthy schools. There are single academy trusts, MATs and schools that have historically sat on large reserves.

“There is wealth in the county that possibly needs to be redistributed to meet these dire needs in our school structures.”

The forum heard that whilst there are some schools which have large amounts of reserves there are also a lot of schools in Cornwall which do not have lots of money to spare.

David Barton, from the Cornwall Association of Secondary Headteachers (CASH), said: “I am hoping that we can look at it in the interests of the children in our schools.”

Kate Evan-Hughes, service director for education at Cornwall Council, said that the council was aiming to set up a system to ensure that schools are not holding excess levels of reserves which would be better spent on providing education in Cornwall.

She said: “This is not about setting up operations to claw back money, it is about making sure we have a transparent system to check these schools that are holding large balances.”

The forum heard that schools are allowed to hold reserves if they are planning capital expenditure or know that they will face additional expenses such as a need for extra staff or resources.

But they wanted to make sure that schools are not just holding back reserves “for a rainy day” when there are other schools which are struggling financially.

Mr Pinhay said his MAT had pooled the finances of the schools in the trust and said that individual schools were only allowed to hold a certain percentage of their annual expenditure in reserves.

Any additional money was then pooled for use by all schools in the trust to meet additional costs such as those for SEND children.

Kate Evan-Hughes said that some schools in Cornwall have “very significant reserves” and said it was important to ensure that these were used for the benefit of Cornwall and not just individual schools.