Johnson promises to consider freeing up school budgets

The education secretary has promised to look into the possibility of relaxing the rules around the spending of schools’ budgets.

Speaking at the national children’s and adult services conference in Brighton this week, Alan Johnson said he was aware of the problem around the restricted use of the direct schools grant (DSG) for spending on school pupils, adding that it was “something we want to talk about in the 2007 Comprehensive Spending Review”.

Insisting the school standards agenda complemented not conflicted with the Every Child Matters agenda, he admitted: “There is a real issue here about how perhaps we can access some of this money lying fallow in some of these schools.”

Johnson was responding to concerns from Kent Council that lower tier councils were effectively only funded to meet the Every Child Matters outcome on achieving, and not the other four outcomes.

“It is impossible to fund school nursing through DSG,” said Kent’s Graham Badman. “But we all know school nurses have a massive impact. We need to free up the strictures of DSG so schools can deliver on the whole Every Child Matters agenda.”


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