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Ministers raid college funds

The National College for School Leadership was forced into a pound;4.3 million deficit after ministers raided its budget to help bail out schools in last year's funding crisis.

A spokesman said it was absorbing the shortfall into its pound;85m budget this year and that no programmes would be affected.

The college originally denied that Department for Education and Skills grants had been redirected to schools (see TES, June 13 2003).

Accounts published this week show that its spending more than doubled from pound;27.9m to pound;59.8m in 2002-03. The number of staff numbers rose to 108, and last year's wage bill was pound;3.9m.

The college has expanded hugely since it was established nearly three years ago. It took over training programmes for aspiring, new and experienced heads, and added schemes for department heads and bursars.

In 200203, 4,500 people aspiring to headship registered for the National Professional Qualification for Headship, up 17 per cent. Around 3,400 people graduated from the course, up 170 per cent. The NPQH becomes compulsory for all new heads from next April.

The college has also extended its influence on policy: ministers asked it to form a London-based national remodelling team, which has pound;7m to spend this year on helping schools cut teacher workload. Its future looks secure, with annual funding expected to rise to pound;92m over the next three years.

Heather Du Quesnay, the college's pound;129,000-a-year chief executive, said that the leadership college had "much to be proud of and much more to do".

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