Local Conservatives welcome government schools climbdown

A Government plan to raid the bank balances of local schools has been abandoned after fierce opposition from some MPs, local politicans, Teaching Unions and Headteachers. Cllr. Simon Windle, Bexley’s Cabinet Member for Schools, Adult Education and Youth Services welcomed the news by saying ‘I am glad the Government has seen sense to abandon their ludicrous proposal to raid school budgets and deduct 5% of any surplus every year for the next three years. Schools could have now spent a large part of their surplus and be facing financial difficulties as a result of Government tactics not known when they set their 07/08 budget.’

Such a ‘clawback’ would have meant that all but five of the schools across Bexley would have faced some of their own grant allocation redistributed according to an as yet undetermined formula. The total amount of money ‘clawed back’ would have been £367,128, with the worst hit primary school facing losing £7,874, the worst hit secondary school facing losing £32,341 and the worst hit special school facing losing £7,031. The Government has previously suggested that it is prudent for primary schools to retain up to 8% of their budgets and secondaries up to 5%. The average surplus of any Bexley school was 6.3% at 31st March, 2007.

David Evennett, MP for Bexleyheath and Crayford said “The Government should have scrapped this plan to penalise schools completely but their instinct for top-down direction is still as strong as ever. The Government thinks it knows how to spend schools’ money better than the headteachers”.

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