Headlines: September 23rd, 1999

Local Education Authorities (LEAs)have been further marginalised after the
Government’s announcement that schools will received a larger slice of the
Schools Standards Fund direct.

The fund has been enlarged to 1.6 billion pounds for 2000-2001, from one
billion previously.

Next year, at least 75 per cent of the new programme will be devolved to
schools, compared to 65 per cent previously. The Government says that
headteachers rather than LEAs are best placed to identify their school’s
most pressing needs.

Good news for local authorities is that the administrative burden has been
reduced when bidding for grant funding. Under the new programme, the number
of grants requiring competitive bidding has been more than halved from 12
last year to five of the 31 grants this year.

The remaining 26 grants will be allocated on a formula based on information
already to hand such as pupil numbers and those children eligible for free
school meals.

The Department for Education is also developing a project designed to
improve and simplify the way local authorities claim payment of grant. The
new system will make use of electronic links to cut down on the
administration which can be faced by local authorities when making grant