Headlines: June 2nd, 2000

The Education Secretary has responded to the criticisms about red tape faced by schools, as made by the Local Government Association (see yesterday’s Publicnet: June 1, 2000).In announcing a major re-think of the way the Standards Fund is administered, he has also threatened to clearly separate local education authority and schools budgets.

This would effectively prevent local authorities holding on centrally to any cash which the Government has earmarked for schools use.

Currently local education authorities are able to keep back up to 15 per cent of money allocated through them for schools to provide central support services.

Speaking to an audience of headteachers, Mr Blunkett outlined the changes to education authority/schools financing as part of a new Green Paper, to be issued by the DETR, later this year.

The Standards Fund will be streamlined by the start of the 2001-02 school year.

Answering LGA criticisms, the new fund will have less categories to bid from, and fewer pieces of paperwork to fill in to complete a bid.

In a further promise on red tape, Mr Blunkett promised that, from September, the number of documents sent by DfEE to schools will be reduced by one third, and the amount of paperwork to be filled in by half.

He is also telling local authorities that they must adopt the same standards and targets for reducing communications to schools.