Michael Gove has made a statement today covering a number of education funding topics. There are various decisions, one ‘minded to’ decision and three consultation exercises.
First, the decisions. On schools capital, there will be £500 million to help local authorities provide extra school places to meet the extra pressures caused by increased birth rates. It is announced that there will also be a new (privately financed) school rebuilding programme, targeting those schools in the worst condition; applications can be submitted in October. School building regulations will be pared down significantly with the intention of cutting both costs and red tape. The Government has said that it will carry out a condition survey of all school buildings so that funding can be better targeted and that it will also improve the design of schools to achieve better buildings and better value.
The ‘almost a decision’ is that “The Government is minded not to fund the [Building Schools for the Future] projects which were the subject of a judicial review earlier this year, subject to further representations from the authorities involved“.
The three consultation exercises are on:
1. The recommendations of Sebastian James’s review on school building – the recommendations will be broadly accepted subject to consultation on the details and implementation;
2. Proposals for a new, fairer and more transparent school funding system – the current funding scheme for maintained schools will continue in 2012-13; and
3. On LACSEG academy funding – the webpage for the consultation paper states that “The Secretary of State for Education, in consultation with the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, has agreed to reconsider the appropriate reduction to local authority funding to be made to reflect the transfer of central services from local authorities to academies and Free Schools. This consideration will apply to the transfers for both the 2011-12 and 2012-13 financial years. We want to ensure that academies and local authorities are funded fairly and we welcome the opportunity to seek views on this reconsideration from local authorities, the Local Government Association and London Councils.”
The accompanying letter to local authorities explains that there will also be an open consultation on the 16-19 funding formula and methodology in the coming months.