Close schools and save money

16th January 2004 at 00:00
Your front-page lead (TES, January 2) again referred to the apparent crisis in school funding.

I believe there is a relatively straightforward solution that would result in a beneficial redistribution of funds to schools. If each local education authority were to reduce the overall number of schools it maintains, less would be spent on management and maintenance costs, with proportionately greater funds being available for remaining schools.

I'm not advocating closure for closure's sake but, as your feature on falling rolls a few weeks ago illustrated, there is clearly a need for far fewer school places.

If the Government maintains current overall levels of funding, which it appears committed to do, and the number of schools nationwide reduces commensurately with the reduction in pupil numbers, the result can only be significantly greater funding for the schools that remain.

In my experience as an LEA officer, however - my LEA is currently going through the painful process - neither teachers, governors nor parents are prepared to help themselves in this respect.

Any suggestion of a school closure is usually met with derision.

The schools that remain after implementation of our proposals will be better off in terms of pupil numbers, will be able to make permanent rather than temporary appointments, and have greater budgetary flexibility than they do now.

I agree schools should be better funded, and I can see absolutely no value in an education system that demands parental contributions towards the cost of essential items.

But I also think teachers, governors and parents need to be more realistic sometimes and consider the wider picture.

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