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SCHOOL GOVERNORS TO BE WARNED OF DANGERS OF CASH FREEZE

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School governors are to be warned that education faces 'a very difficult year' as a result of government action on ...
School governors are to be warned that education faces 'a very difficult year' as a result of government action on public expenditure. The warning will go to them from the local authority associations in a unique step designed to highlight the consequences of a cash freeze on local government spending.

Association of County Councils chair Josie Farrington said today:

'Some ministers - and some of the media - talk as if public expenditure cuts ere just a nasty little difficulty to be gone through on the way to the joys of tax cuts. In fact they meanreal, lasting and irreparable damage to children being educated in our schools.

'We hope school governors will convince their MPs not to approve a cash freeze settlement for local government. MPs saw the Post Office privatisation as one privatisation too many. Now is the time to convince them that another round of cuts would be a cut too far.

'School governors now have control over the budgets for their individual schools. But how much they can spend is determined by what government allows local authorities to spend. It is right and proper that school governors are told now that they can expect a grim year ahead unless ministers are dissuaded even at this late hour.

'The government has warned the local authority associations to expect a tough financial settlement for 1994/95. We expect a cash freeze to be announced at the end of the month. Every council in the land is now effectively 'capped' and unable to spend more than the present limits set on its budget by the government.

'Although some authorities last year were able to help governors pay for government determined increases in teachers' pay, others were not.

'The local authority associations, the Association of District Councils, Association of County Councils and Association of Metropolitan Authorities are taking the unique step of writing to school governors because we are seriously concerned about the upward trend in class sizes, a concern which we know is shared by school governors, the teacher unions and parents' organisations.

'An extra 110,000 children will need schooling next year, making the task of governors that much tougher. The prospect has to be of increased class size and too few books and a general deterioration in what schools can offer.'

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