Early birds get pick of funding

David Blunkett promised an extra Pounds 20 billion for education. A TES survey shows who has profited so far. BARNET

Where: north-west London

Population: 320,000

Type: big, well-to-do borough, with pockets of social deprivation such as Burnt Oak and Colindale

Politics: minority Labour administration

Ethnic mix: one of outer London's most diverse boroughs

Schools: 121 maintained schools including 14 grant-maintained and 33 voluntary-aided. Ten private secondary schools, 21 state secondaries BARNET was one of the biggest winners in the bidding process for central Government funds. The TES survey found that the London borough received an average of Pounds 151 per pupil - the eighth highest in England.

It did particularly well with bids for New Deal for Schools money - getting more per pupil than any other outer London borough.

Anne Jarvis, chair of the council's education committee, was delighted that the Department for Education and Employment had at last "recognised that Barnet's leafy image conceals areas of serious social and economic deficit".

However, when the Pounds 4 million going to Barnet's schools is contrasted with the Pounds 1.7m awarded to Enfield, its less affluent neighbour, it is clear other factors are at work.

Authority officials attributed their success to early preparation which allowed them to bid for larger sums in the first round of bidding. "Barnet started to act before the Education White Paper was published. (We) looked at raising achievement, investing in education ... this certainly helped with our bids."

The council also made good use of the experience many staff already had of bidding for European money.

One school benefiting from Barnet's success is Copthall girls comprehensive. Headteacher Lynn Gadd said that local authority support was crucial in winning money for renovating part of the school which would otherwise have been unuseable.

Jon Slater

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