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Brent council robs infants of cash

More than a third of England's local education authorities are "short-changing" primary schools, according to the National Association of Head Teachers.

It says that LEA returns to the Department for Education and Skills for this financial year show that 55 of 150 authorities do not spend what the Government says they should on primary pupils.

David Hart, NAHT general secretary, said: "This makes a mockery of the drive to raise standards in primary education and support heads who need funding to implement the workforce agreement."

But he conceded it did not mean that councils had not met this year's minimum guaranteed 4 per cent per pupil funding increase.

The worst offender, according to the NAHT, is Brent in north-west London, with a shortfall of pound;47,800 for a 200-pupil school. Other big London offenders are Islington with a pound;47,200 shortfall for a 200-pupil school and Redbridge with pound;37,200. Among metropolitan districts Oldham is the worst with a pound;43,400 shortfall, Manchester with pound;42,600, followed by Bolton and Sheffield with pound;23,400 each.

Brighton and Hove does worst among the unitary authorities with a pound;39,200 shortfall per 200- pupil school, followed by Slough (pound;39,000), Hereford (pound;33,200) and Reading (pound;29,800). Lincolnshire is the worst county council with pound;37,200 followed by Cambridgeshire (pound;33,000) and Wiltshire (pound;28,000).

A Local Government Association spokesman said councils were already spending pound;200m more on schools than the Government expected them to.

Any increase for primaries would have to come from the secondary sector.

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