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SOME SCHOOLS HAVE CASH CRISIS, ADMITS CLARKE

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Education secretary Charles Clarke admits that some schools are facing a financial crisis, prompting fears of teach...
Education secretary Charles Clarke admits that some schools are facing a financial crisis, prompting fears of teacher redundancies, according to The Independent on Sunday (p10).

He told the newspaper that a change in the way they were funded was partly to blame. The system introduced this year was designed to introduce a fairer distribution of resources, but Mr Clarke admitted: 'The way the formula has worked for some schools has caused difficulties. We're looking at it closely and trying to understand what has happened and what's gone wrong.'

Headteachers have voiced widespread concern about redundancies. The National Union of Teachers is expected to back an emergency motion at its annual conference next weekend calling for strikes against redundancies.

Two weeks ago, at the Secondary Heads Association, Mr Clarke expressed 'genuine shock' over the claims, stressing the government had approved an 11 per cent increase in funding this year.

Mr Clarke says local education authorities failed to pass money to schools. 'There are LEAs holding much more money back for special education and other functions. My preferred option would have been for every LEA to have released it all to schools.'

LEAs also held back money from the government's standards fund, earmarked for specific projects to improve performance, for distribution later, he added. Schools also faced 'quite substantial' rises in pay bills. Rises for some teachers were 8 per cent or 9 per cent rather than the 2.9 per cent across-the-board settlement, because of changes to pay scales.

The government has already announced that it is giving an extra £28m to 36 LEAs facing a budget rise this year of less than 3.2 per cent.

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