Brush-up truancy windfall;Letter;News and opinion

10th December 1999 at 00:00
I AM writing to draw attention to the little-known Standards Fund 19: Pupil Support Grant, which is to be introduced in April 2000.

Having looked at the rules which govern this grant, one can only assume that the Department for Education and Employment official who devised them was an early victim of the millennium bug!

This grant is to be distributed mainly to schools with high levels of social exclusion, with the intention of helping them to reduce exclusions and truancy. So far so good.

However the catch-22 is that, for every pupil permanently excluded, the school must repay between pound;3,000 and pound;6,000 of the grant to the local education authority. Similarly if the school fails to reduce truancy by a specified amount then large amounts of the grant must be repayed.

Maybe the DFEE could explain how a school could even begin to consider spending its grant under these circumstances.

If the money is spent but the targets are not met then the school would have to fund the expenditure incurred from its delegated budget. Most schools with high levels of social exclusion are simply not in a position to take this kind of risk.

The intention behind the clawback arrangement was to offer positive incentives to schools to retain and manage difficult pupils. These same clawback arrangements will ensure that this ambition is not realised.

If the DFEE insists on penalising schools which don't always succeed in the most difficult of circumstances, then it should reduce the following year's Standards Fund 19 allocation.

At least this would allow a school to try out imaginative ideas for managing the most difficult pupils, in the knowledge that its core funding was not put in jeopardy.

Under the present arrangements a school can only sit on the money and see what turns up. Only if it is clear that fewer pupils have in fact been excluded and that truancy has in fact been cut will the school be in a position to spend what would then be a "windfall". Please think again, minister.

Tony Toubkin

Thornleigh Lodge

Thornleigh Drive

Burton, Lancashire

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number


The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now