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Oratory illustrates need for funds;Letter

THE RECENT appeal from John McIntosh, headteacher of the London Oratory School (TES, October 1), highlights some of the issues facing all schools, but particularly primary schools, many of which have annual budgets smaller than the Oratory's overspend of pound;250,000.

The former grant-maintained schools now consider themselves to be underfunded as they return to education authorities. Those schools that chose to remain with their LEA continue to be under-funded - some more so than others because of the inequities of the Government's present funding system. Headteachers have seen no significant increase in the basic levels of school budgets in the past two years. Instead we rely on targeted grants, which are subject to bidding arrangements which come with no guarantee of their continuing availability.

What is required is a real commitment on behalf of national and local government to bring all schools up to the funding levels previously enjoyed by the GM schools, rather than the return to the lowest common denominator that we are now seeing.

All schools, primary and secondary, should receive a guaranteed minimum funding for each pupil based upon identified need.

On top of this, local authorities would be able to provide extra resources based upon their own local priorities. A government that is looking for 10 years or more in office has time to create an education system worthy of this country's most precious asset - its children.

John Hyde

Chair

National Primary Headteachers'

Association

Gorse Hall primary school

Forester Drive, Stalybridge

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