where does Honywood Community Science School get £500,000 for iPads?

The story about Honywood Community Science School is worrying. Either they have been given an over-large budget for political reasons, or they have taken on a huge debt.
the sum of £500,000 allegedly represents 2.3% of the school budget, so the school budget must be just under £22 million. This is for a school with about 1000 pupil entry. (presumably 200 in the Sixth Form)
Similar schools in Manchester (without a Sixth Form) have overall budgets of around £4,000,000, most of which is to cover staff costs, so either these new academy schools are being grossly over-funded, in order to ensure political success, or the school is being economic with the truth.
It is more likely the latter, although this is just as worrying.
The alternative to the previous calculation is that the £500,000 is a loan and the 2.3% of school budget represents the repayments on this loan.
Taking a budget of £4,000,000, then, 2.3% represents payments of £92,000 per year, over 6 years, at a minimal interest rate.
However it is more likely that this is a private financing deal, with costs for replacement and annual restocking, calculated in.
If this is the case then the school may be committed to purchasing items which will become obsolete, within the loan period (IT hardware seems to become outdated within a year, or so) and they may have to renegotiate for new hardware, on less favourable terms.
Long term this may prove damaging to the school, as the sum concerned would represent a very high percentage of its variable costs and limit its ability to retain high cost staff or fund other large capital purchases, such as replacement of sports facilities, new computers etc.
There should be a mechanism that forces schools (and other publicly funded bodies) to disclose the details of any contracts, without being able to quote, or hide behind, legislation protecting commercial confidentiality.

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