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Call for tight rein on council power

EDUCATION authorities cannot be trusted to relinquish their grip on schools, says the country's leading private inspection company, writes Karen Thornton.

The Reading-based Centre for British Teachers says the Government must keep a firm check on authorities and retain the power to cap their budgets, when financial delegation to schools is increased under Fair Funding.

The CfBT's views are backed by the soon-to-be-defunct Funding Agency for Schools and the Standing Advisory Committee for Grant Maintained Schools.

Fair Funding, published in the spring, aims to maximise delegation to all schools. It will sweep away the distinction between the funding for grant-maintained and local authority schools.

CfBT has a commercial interest in providing services currently offered by education authorities, while the other two organisations are anxious to maintain the independence of grant-maintained schools - soon to be restored to "light-touch" education authority control as foundation schools.

The GMSAC and the FAS reject the proposed "significant majority voting" system which would bind all schools to buy back a service from a council if 80 per cent were in favour of the move.

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