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NEW LGA STUDY ATTACKS GOVERNMENT RED TAPE

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LGA education leaders have slammed as 'wasteful, inefficient and bureaucratic' a key section of the government's ca...
LGA education leaders have slammed as 'wasteful, inefficient and bureaucratic' a key section of the government's cash for schools.

In a new study they claim money which could best be spent on teaching is being wasted because DfEE red tape forces councils to bid for cash from the standards fund to top up their spending.

The association says the fund, which now makes up almost 10% of local authority education spending, should be scrapped in its present form and redeveloped with less bureaucracy attached.

LGA finance executive member Dave Wilcox said: 'If the government is really serious about cutting red tape for schools then it should slash the number of hoops headteachers have to go through to secure standards fund money.

'The LGA has developed a model which will reduce bureaucracy while allowing schools and the government to meet their targets.

'It would allow schools to manage their own budgets and set their own priorities at a local level rather than being dictated to by London.'

At present headteachers are being forced to apply for 38 different pots of money under within a very complicated scheme which wastes an astonishing amount of time which could be spent teaching.

In some cases heads are spending 16 hours preparing bids for projects costing less than£500. LGA education finance experts say the fund should be overhauled because it is not only bureaucratic, but:

Inflexible (the cash is strictly ringfenced and can only be spent on certain areas);

Distributed annually (stopping schools from long-term planning);

Must be spent in the year it is received; and

Is set nationally without taking local conditions into account.

The LGA says the fund should be changed to being distributed every three years after schools produce a detailed plan of how the money will be spent with LEAs reviewing the targets annually.

The advantages would be:

A three year cycle allows schools to plan properly and slash the bureaucracy;

The funding becomes directly related to outputs;

Schools have an incentive to deliver their targets as funding would be linked to further funding allocations.

Local priorities would be tackled alongside national priorities.

NOTES

1) The document is entitled 'The future of the standards fund'

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