Headlines: June 1st, 2000

Education authorities are accusing the Government of `wasteful, inefficient and bureaucratic’ demands on headteachers.The Local Government Association (LGA) has studied how much red tape is involved in making a bid for new education money held in the Standards Fund. This fund now accounts for nearly ten per cent of schools funding, yet the study showed how it forced headteachers to bid for cash from one of 38 separate pots in a complex system which sometimes took hours to complete.

It estimated it could take a headteacher 16 hours to prepare a bid for 500 pounds worth of funding.

Other problems identified with the Standards Fund by the LGA are that it is inflexible, with money ring-fenced for one purpose only, must be spent annually, discouraging long-term planning, and paid at standard national rates, failing to take into account local conditions.

The LGA has put forward its own model, which it says is less bureaucratic. Not surprisingly, it would also allow more local discretion, and involve a role in checking on delivery for local councils.

`The Future of the Standards Fund’ is available on the internet at: www.lga.gov.uk/lga/releases/standards.pdf