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Change the funding farce, now

I REFER to the article by Alan Parker, director of education for Ealing council, London (TES, October 6).

He concludes that "when transparency is achieved it might well reveal that present inequalities are not as unfair as some now believe ... Thus, a new national system will be difficult to design and expensive to implement, particularly if the promise to protect potential losers is to be kept."

Perhaps if Mr Parker's authority was one of the worst-funded he might be taking a different view.

Certainly the heads and governors of Derbyshire's schools will not be drawing a similar conclusion. For the first time, the Government has recognised the need to remove unjustifiable inequalities in the system for funding education.

Derbyshire schools and services have been suffering from severe under-funding for many years and we will certainly be working with the Department for ducation and Employment and the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions in a positive manner to achieve a levelling up of funding for this and other low-funded authorities.

I would certainly take issue with Mr Parker's view that "the need to phase in changes at school level will push convergence to a new system further back than 2003-04".

On the contrary, we will be urging the Government to take action now to provide additional funding for levelling up from April 2001.

The F40 Group of the worst-funded local education authorities is pressing for a temporary solution under the existing discredited system while the new long-term proposals are being developed.

We cannot accept that the existing injustices will be continued for another three years.

Alan Charles

Chair of education committee

County Hall

Matlock

Derbyshire

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