councils' role in distributing funding for schools.
LGA chairman, Sir Jeremy Beecham said,
'In his speech to the NASUWT conference today, Charles Clarke acknowledged
that the figures for the speculated funding shortfall need to be 'checked
What we do know, however, is that this year local councils are spending £100
million more than the government has allocated on their local schools, so
claims that in general councils are underfunding and holding back money
provided by central government are unfounded. Indeed 25 per cent of the
money spent on schools is raised locally, by council tax. Councils are
demonstrating their commitment to education by increasing council tax in
many areas to fund additional support for schools.
A major change in the funding system introduced this year has caused
considerable turbulence both in schools and local education authorities.
It is vital that councils maintain their strategic role in local education
provision. It is councils, working locally with schools, who can assess and
provide for the different needs of, for example, an isolated rural school
and an inner city school with many pupils facing social deprivation.
Whitehall cannot possibly understand the individual needs of every school in
Also, it has not been widely reported that there are areas in England and
Wales where some schools are reporting budget shortfalls, while other
schools hold balances in reserve. These are reserves that the LEA does not
control, and amount to £1.2bn.
Over the past ten years local councils have, in total, spent £4.3bn above
the government's own provision on education. Perhaps it's time to recognise
the fact that we need to see more money in education system.
The LGA will be looking at the government's figures, we will be looking at
what local cou ncils are doing and we will also look at the local formula,
which are currently driven too much by pupil numbers rather than pupil