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How to read the audit tables

The tables below provide information about local authorities in seven key areas. Six of them show how councils compare on the educational services they provide and their main spending priorities. The seventh shows how much each council spends per head of population on public library books and other materials, such as videos and CDs. The figures are for the financial year 1993-4.

The first three columns relate to under-fives provision, with the key indicator showing the proportion of three and four year-olds receiving some form of education in LEA schools. Most provision is part-time and the figures do not differentiate between nursery and primary reception classes.

The next group of indicators relate to surplus places and over-subscription in schools. These show, for example, that around one in seven places in reception classes in English and Welsh primary schools are unfilled, while one child in 28 is taught in a primary school which exceeds its capacity.

The next six columns relate to special needs, with the most revealing figures relating to the proportion of children who have had to wait more than six months for statements to be prepared.

Another significant column shows the proportion of mandatory grants paid to higher education students before October 10, effectively the start of the university term.

Finally, there are four columns setting out LEA spending per pupil in each of the four phases of schooling, enabling comparisons to be made about individual councils' funding priorities.

The figures given are provided by the Audit Commission and based on information provided by local authorities, overseen by local auditors. Totals and averages for the counties, districts, London and England and Wales are listed on page 13. These are based on the commission's figures, but were not provided by them in all cases.

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