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Pounds 130m bill to raise standards

Measures to raise standards, to be outlined next week in the Government's White Paper, will cost councils more than Pounds 130 million, according to local government estimates, writes Frances Rafferty.

In a letter to Stephen Byers, minister for school standards, Graham Lane, chairman of the Local Government Association's education committee, has costed some of the measures the Government has planned to raise performance. It also estimates the costs for local education authorities in their new role promoting school effectiveness.

His letter supports the Government's plans, but says: "My view is that an additional Pounds 100m to Pounds 130m needs to be injected into Grants for Education Support and Training for a few years to meet Government priorities. "

The amount represents a rise of more than a third of the overall GEST programme. One suggestion is that the cash could be taken from the revenue support grant, but this may not be popular with all LEAs.

The rough costings, estimated by the LGA, are: Pounds 40m for the literacy and numeracy revolution, Pounds 5m for education action zones, Pounds 5m for early excellence centres, Pounds 30m for information technology, Pounds 45m for local authority restructuring, and Pounds 5m for the national framework for teachers' professional development.

Some of this money may be taken from the overall GEST budget (worth Pounds 300m in 199798), but the LGA says most of this money is already earmarked.

Mr Lane's letter says: "LEA restructuring to meet the new job must be a high priority ... many LEAs will have reduced advisory and support staff after the introduction of the new system of national inspection in 1993."

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