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SCHOOLS FUNDING PLAN CONTINUES DESPITE FLAK

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The government is pushing the implementation of the common funding formula for schools despite continuing oppositio...
The government is pushing the implementation of the common funding formula for schools despite continuing opposition.

Education minister Robin Squire announced last week that the Department for Education was consulting on the extension of the formula to 16 councils from April 1995. The areas all have over 30% of secondary pupils in grant-maintained schools.

Five councils - Bromley LBC, Calderdale MDC, Essex CC, Gloucestershire CC and Hillingdon LBC - are piloting the scheme this year. Essex and Calderdale threatened legal action when the formula was revealed in February. Essex expressed the fear that the DfE had too much control over its budget.

The all-party education select committee claimed in April that the CFF should be scrapped because it was too complex. It offered an alternative national system based on a 'basic pupil figure' (LGC, 29 April).

The DfE says it is sympathetic in principle to greater standardisation in GM school funding over time but was pushing ahead with the implementation of the formula because it would be unrealistic to produce a new system by April 1995.

Councils fear that by linking the funding for GM schools to standard spending assessments they will be forced to spend the same on their own schools to avoid more opt-outs. They argue this effectively gives the government control over one of their largest spending areas.

Councils to be included in the CFF for next year are: Barnet, Brent, Cambridgeshire, Croydon, Cumbria, Ealing, Enfield, Hertfordshire, Kent, Kingston upon Thames, Lambeth, Lincolnshire, Southwark, Sutton, Wandsworth and Wiltshire.

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