The democratic funding formula

28th October 1994 at 00:00
It is a pity that Alan Parker of the Association of Metropolitan Authorities has dismissed the Secondary Heads Association proposal for a national funding formula as a "dreadful affront to local democracy" without having read it in full.

When he does so, he will find in paragraph 74 that we envisage the national funding formula as a replacement for the standard spending assessment, leaving each local education authority free to raise more money from local taxes (without capping) if they wish to spend more on their schools than the national formula has provided. This will increase local accountability.

Mr Hyde, a primary head who was anxious lest I had left the primary sector out of the plan, will also be reassured to know that the SHA proposal covers all school-based education from 5 to 18. Like him, we wish to see primary schools more generously funded. In our view, this should not be achieved by transfer of money from the secondary sector but by an overall increase in the funding of education.

A national formula would help to clarify the thinking on the needs of schools in each phase and would strengthen the case for a higher overall level of expenditure when the country can afford it or a (new?) government decides that investment in education is high priority.

PETER DOWNES

President

Secondary Heads Association

Hinchingbrooke School

Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire

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