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Delegation Row open for business

WHITE PAPER. * Encouraging schools to become grammars; * Allowing the Funding Agency for Schools to propose the creation of new grant-maintained schools; * Allowing GM schools to select up to half their pupils by general ability; * Allowing LEA Technology and Language Colleges to select up to 30 per cent of their pupils by ability or aptitude in their specialist subjects;

* Allowing other LEA schools to select up to 20 per cent of their pupils by ability or aptitude; * Requiring all school governing bodies to consider with parents each year whether to introduce selection of some pupils; * Neutral observers to oversee GM ballot process; * Allowing GM schools to open nurseries or sixth forms, take in boarders or add up to 50 per cent more places without approval; * Raising LEAs' delegated budgets to schools to 95 per cent.

Extracts from the White Paper 'Self-government for Schools' This White Paper sets out the Government's proposals for extending self-government for schools in England and Wales.

The time is right to take the next major step in establishing a framework for the governance, funding and operation of schools which gives them power to run their own affairs, and which gives parents choice in deciding the education they want for their children.

In some respects, notably the curriculum and assessment, schools previously were left to their own devices. There was little shared understanding among teachers or parents about what children should be learning, standards which they could be expected to achieve, and how one school's performance compared with another's. The national curriculum, and linked requirements for regular testing of children and publication of performance data, now provide a common framework of expectations about outcomes which schools should be seeking to achieve. But within that, schools should have complete freedom to decide how to attain those outcomes.

School self-government brings important benefits: * In line with good management practice, it gives the power to take decisions to those directly responsible for providing the service. Decisions can be taken faster and in a way which reflects local needs.

* It improves value for money by enabling schools to spend their budgets in line with their own priorities, and by giving them incentives to look for best value in buying goods and services.

* Combined with external inspection, publication of performance data and reporting to parents, self-government makes schools directly accountable for their performance, and gives them the power to decide how to improve that performance.

* Over time, self-government gives schools opportunities and incentives to identify their relative strengths and build on them to develop a distinctive character, so promoting diversity between schools and greater parental choice.

The Government will take account of the views of interested parties. Comments should be sent by Friday October 4 to: (in England) Jane Whitfield, Department for Education and Employment, Location 3E4, Sanctuary Buildings, Great Smith Street, London SW1P 3BT; (in Wales) Linda Poole, Schools Administration Division, Welsh Office, Cathays Park, Cardiff CF1 3NQ.

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