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EDUCATION BILL 'NEEDS SPELLING OUT'

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Local education authorities will gain 65 new powers under the School Standards and Framework Bill, which is soon to...
Local education authorities will gain 65 new powers under the School Standards and Framework Bill, which is soon to pass through parliament.

However, in a letter to The Times (p19) Sean Williams, of the Centre for Policy Studies and author of a report on the Bill, says education secretary David Blunkett will also gain 71 new powers and duties, 52 new powers to make regulations, 13 to issue guidance and two to issue codes of practice.

He writes: 'The government's claim that 100% of budgets will be delegated to schools is highly misleading. LEAs will be able to retain as much as they like out of the total education budget - currently 25% on average - before deciding how much to delegate to schools.

'In fact, the new arrangements allow them to retain more than currently because there will be no minimum delegation limit as at present. It does not help schools to delegate minor administrative decisions, such as who shall manage the payroll, while taking tighter control over important decisions, such as how the school shall recruit teachers.'

He continues: 'The best example of this assertion of state control is the abolition of grant-maintained schools, which freed themselves from local education authority control by balloting parents and will now be forced back into LEA control by government diktat. People need to be made aware of what the government is doing, not just what it chooses to trumpet.'
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