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The Education Forum

LEAs and Spending

John Simkin

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Yesterday the government announced plans to further dilute the role of local education authorities by giving head teachers more control over their budgets. Here is an extract from an article by Rebecca Smithers in today's Guardian:


Barry Sheerman, the Labour MP and chairman of the cross-party education and skills select committee, said: "The government seems to be trying to straddle two incompatible objectives here. On the one hand they want schools to increasingly work together sharing resources and activities in collegiates of schools, whilst at the same time they wish to make schools more and more independent. Many of the problems facing schools today are systemic and involve a need to address problems across a range of schools in a local council area."

Sir Sandy Bruce-Lockhart, chairman of the Local Government Association, said: "Plans to nationalise education funding will put an end to local people's ability to assess and meet local educational needs, and damage the link between schools services and other public services. Schools won't be set free but cast adrift in a sea of Whitehall-driven bureaucracy.

"Measures to reduce overbearing inspection are much needed, but an approach that scrutinises the public sector as a whole, cutting the number of inspectorates, could achieve massive efficiency savings and free up public services to concentrate on improvement and local priorities."

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It's interesting that this devlovement of responsibility in education, and the passing on of more autonomy to Heads, seems to be a world wide trend. It has just been "done" to us here. We have been completely restructured into "clusters" of schools with Boards of Principals and a "Coordinating Principal" for each cluster. We were also promised "more money through the school gate" because of a reduction in bureaucracy, but it's not turning out that way.

What we now have is a system which devolves authority to schools to be more individual, responsive, autonomous etc, but is in fact more accountable for outcomes with less money than ever before.

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