Education strategy could undermine children’s services reform

The reform of children’s services could be undermined by
the government’s five-year education strategy, the Local
Government Association has warned, writes Sally

The strategy, launched last week by education secretary Charles
Clarke, will mean every school will be independent, have new
freedoms, and be funded by three-year budgets from 2006.

Although funding will officially continue to be channelled
through local authorities, councils will not be allowed to divert
the dedicated schools budget to other services.

Former LGA chair Sir Jeremy Beecham reacted angrily to the
proposals, claiming that the association had not been

Speaking at the LGA’s annual conference in Bournemouth
last week, Beecham said: “Any attempt to diminish the role of
local councils in education, from whatever source, would serve to
undermine the thrust of the new education and children’s

“Removing responsibility for admissions policies, and
weakening the connection between schools and other local services,
would threaten the development of seamless children’s

Under the plans, secondary schools will be entitled to own their
own land and buildings, manage their assets, employ staff, improve
their governing bodies, and forge partnerships with outside
sponsors. By 2008, every secondary school that is up to standard
should be a specialist school.

All schools that are not yet foundation schools will be able to
vote to become one.


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