MORE than 60 per cent of schools across Lancashire are operating a deficit, figures reveal.

School balances decreased by more than 16 per cent in the last financial year which is the largest single year reduction on record, according to the Lancashire Schools Forum.

School balances decreased by more than £8million to a total of £44million.

Statistics show 368 schools in 2016/17 operated an in year deficit and had to dip into reserves compared to 276 schools in 2015/16 and 256 in 2014/15 with 40 schools ending the year in deficit compared to 25 the year before.

A schools forum report said the analysis showed the 'significant costs pressures facing the school sector'.

Education bosses are developing proposals to help support schools deemed 'high risk' who are 'swiftly heading towards a deficit position, quickly burning through reserves'.

Meanwhile schools across Blackburn with Darwen the level of maintained school reserves had also fallen during the year by £600,000 to £5.72million.

According to the Blackburn with Darwen Schools Forum, school balances have fallen over the last four years from £12million at the end of the 2013/14 financial year.

Teaching unions have warned 93 per cent of schools are facing a per-pupil funding cut which will lead to increased class sizes, loss of school staff and cuts to extra-curricular activities.

The government is due to announce its final funding formula next month.