LEAs rubber-stamp Clarke's funding plans

Education Secretary Charles Clarke has welcomed the decision by most local education authorities to pass on the full funding increase to schools next year.

Out of 148 local education authorities (LEAs) in England, 144 are proposing to pass on or 'passport' all or more than the basic increase in schools funding to their schools budgets. These budgets include funding delegated to individual schools and provision for pupils which is funded centrally by the LEA, such as special educational needs.

Two LEAs - Halton and South Tyneside - will not pass on all the funding but they have increased the amount they propose to pass on to their Schools Budgets following discussions with the Department for Education and SKills. Both have indicated that they will passport in full in 2005-06.

Bath and North East Somerset LEA is also not passporting in full but its proposals to put additional resource into schools capital expenditure are supported by the local Schools Forum.

Cambridgeshire County Council proposes to pass on only 71% of the increase in schools funding. Education Secretary Charles Clarke intends to use his powers to require them to set a minimum level of schools budget at a level consistent with full passporting.

Mr Clarke said: "I am very pleased that the great majority of LEAs will pass on the full increase in schools funding next year.

"But I am sorry that four authorities have decided not to passport in full. I have considered carefully the explanation put forward by each of these authorities before deciding whether to use my powers. I have decided that I should act to ensure a minimum level of schools budget in Cambridgeshire."

In October Mr Clarke set out the government's funding plans for schools which guaranteed a minimum per pupil increase for all schools. A school whose pupil numbers stay the same between 2003-04 and 2004-05 will be guaranteed a four per cent increase in its overall budget. A minimum increase in government support to LEAs for schools was set at 5%.


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