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BLUNKETT TO SUGGEST PLANS FOR RINGFENCED EDUCATION FUNDING

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David Blunkett, the education secretary, will today reveal that he is to consult councils about proposals to shift ...
David Blunkett, the education secretary, will today reveal that he is to consult councils about proposals to shift cash from town halls to classrooms by ringfencing education funds, reports The Guardian (p9).

In his speech to the National Association of Head Teachers' annual conference, Mr Blunkett will say: 'There can be no let-up in our drive for higher standards and greater opportunities for all our children. As part of this we need greater clarity about the role of local government in education funding and must ensure that as much money as possible gets to the frontline where it belongs.'

Downing Street last night signalled Tony Blair's support for the education secretary's plan to use the forthcoming green paper on local authority finance to test levels of support for protecting school budgets.

Mr Blunkett's announcement will be welcomed by headteachers, who are increasingly vocal in their criticism of local education authorities.

Delegates at the NAHT conference yesterday supported a motion calling for at least 80% of LEA money for schools to be passed on directly to head teachers, although they drew back from a demand for 100%.

David Hart, the NAHT general secretary, said that heads broadly supported Mr Blunkett's view that if LEAs did not exist something like them would have to be invented.

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