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Soundbite policy has bitter taste;Letter

Policy by means of attractive soundbite is apt to produce unintended and often perverse consequences. A few examples may help here: 1. Small class sizes for five to seven-year-olds results in penalising schools and local authorities which, regardless of wealth, have defended their pupilteacher ratios, while rewarding those which have not.

2. Saving music education is likely to produce a similar effect, penalising schools and local authorities which have defended music provision but rewarding those which have cut or charged.

3. One hundred per cent devolved budgets may also have similar consequences - why should any local authority budget over the Standard Spending Assessment if it has to delegate 100 per cent? It seems to me that many local authorities might choose to spend on other services and cut back where they currently spend in excess. The alternative is national funding with resulting gains and losses, and perhaps effects similar to those being felt at present in further education.

M O'Malley

1 Ash Grove Little Sutton, South Wirral

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