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Letters extra: education action zone

I read with some bemusement the article (July 27) which claimed that "an EAZ [Education Action Zone] in Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria, spent pound;57,000 on administration in its first three months last year". This claim was apparently based on the outcome of an NUT study. For readers who might be speculating about the Barrow Community Learning Partnership's penthouse offices and private jet I offer some clarification.

  • During January-March 2000 the BCLP spent pound;28,000, including pound;13,000 on salary-related costs, pound;4,000 on auditors' fees and pound;7,000 on team-recruitment costs.
  • During the same period the BCLP received pound;7,000 of in-kind support from Cumbria LEA. Although this cost nothing, the NUT research appeared to show this as expenditure.
  • Before January 2000, Cumbria LEA, in collaboration with the BCLP Action Forum, spent pound;20,000 in preparation and development of the successful bid, a first attempt to recruit a director and the recruitment of an acting director.
  • The apparent shortfall (cited incorrectly by the NUT as pound;20,000) between income and expenditure at March 31 2000 was irrelevant given that any EAZ had the capacity to draw additional funding in advance from its pound;500,000 core grant - and we were also unlikely to have generated much matched-funding before the start of programmes in April 2000. We have since secured pound;247,000 of matched funding through the support of our business, charitable sector and community partners during our first year. This fully justified the pump-priming carried out by Cumbria LEA and the BCLP Action Forum to ensure that Barrow-in-Furness can benefit from a successful education action zone.
  • The National Audit Office demonstrated that our financial management was sound.
    • If colleagues researching on behalf of the NUT had contacted us before publishing, we would have been happy to co-operate.

      The debate about public and private funding is importantnbsp;and needs to be open. It also needs to be informed by accurate evidence.

      Mason Minnitt
      Director, Barrow Community Learning Partnership

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