Latest Public Sector News

07.07.14

Council chiefs oppose proposed cuts in education services grant

Proposed plans to cut a further £200m from school funding will put extra pressure on the ability of councils to support improvement and accountability in schools, local authority chiefs have claimed. 

The Local Government Association (LGA) says it has protested to the Department for Education (DfE) over the cuts proposed to the education services grant, a fund paid to councils to cover school improvement and other education functions. 

The DfE's consultation document argues that the spread of academies and free schools – which receive a version of the education services grant directly from central government – means that local authorities now have less to do, and could make savings by charging fees from the remaining maintained schools in their areas. 

But both Solace and the LGA argue that the funding proposal highlights a lack of clarity between the DfE and Ofsted about the council role in education. 

For instance, Ofsted says that processes to support and challenge underperforming academies are in place, but inspection evidence raises concerns about the rigour, depth and impact of these arrangements, at a time when councils have been told not to intervene in academies and are not funded to do so. 

Cllr David Simmonds, chairman of the LGA's Children and Young People Board, said: “With 'Outstanding' and 'Good' schools fast-tracked to academy status, councils have a growing task turning around the 25% of schools in England that need to be better. 

“Mums and dads need to know that whatever type of school their child goes to, it will be subject to rigorous challenge to ensure high standards. As more schools take advantage of the average £700 per pupil additional funding that academy status brings, we need to make sure that no child and no school is left behind. 

“Funding council-maintained and academy schools equally would go a long way to driving the improvement of underperforming schools, otherwise we risk a two-tier system opening up which will penalise children in the 84% of schools which are not academies." 

While the coalition government has promised to ring-fence education spending, the education services grant is not inside the protected ring. The grant is currently worth £116 per pupil at each maintained school this year, but is likely to be cut by 20% if the DfE decides to go ahead. This is compared to the grant received by academies which is £140 per pupil. 

Mark Rogers, president of Solace, said: “Local authorities take very seriously their duty to ensure that there is a great education for every child irrespective of the type school they attend. The DfE's reluctance to address the confusion surrounding the oversight of schools will only be worsened by this further reduction in the resources available to councils to act as champions for best education for every child.” 

Tell us what you think – have your say below or email opinion@publicsectorexecutive.com

Comments

There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment

 

related

public sector executive tv

more videos >

last word

Prevention: Investing for the future

Prevention: Investing for the future

Rob Whiteman, CEO at the Chartered Institute of Public Finance (CIPFA), discusses the benefits of long-term preventative investment. Rising demand, reducing resource – this has been the r more > more last word articles >

public sector focus

View all News

comment

Peter Kyle MP: It’s time to say thank you this Public Service Day

21/06/2019Peter Kyle MP: It’s time to say thank you this Public Service Day

Taking time to say thank you is one of the hidden pillars of a society. Bei... more >
How community-led initiatives can help save the housing shortage

19/06/2019How community-led initiatives can help save the housing shortage

Tom Chance, director at the National Community Land Trust Network, argues t... more >

interviews

Artificial intelligence: the devil is in the data

17/12/2018Artificial intelligence: the devil is in the data

It’s no secret that the public sector and its service providers need ... more >

the raven's daily blog

Northern Powerhouse Partner aims to connect the North once again

02/09/2019Northern Powerhouse Partner aims to connect the North once again

In February this year, official Northern Powerhouse Partner, Cognitive Publishing, delivered EvoNorth 2019.  The two day event was designed to amplify and highlight futur... more >
read more blog posts from 'the raven' >

editor's comment

25/10/2017Take a moment to celebrate

Devolution, restructuring and widespread service reform: from a journalist’s perspective, it’s never been a more exciting time to report on the public sector. That’s why I could not be more thrilled to be taking over the reins at PSE at this key juncture. There could not be a feature that more perfectly encapsulates this feeling of imminent change than the article James Palmer, mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, has penned for us on p28. In it, he highlights... read more >