Forum's advice is well heeded

12th March 2004 at 00:00
I refer to the article "Funny meddling on the way to the forum" (TES, January 23).

The Leicestershire Schools' Forum actually debated the delegation of special educational needs money on four separate occasions. There was considerable disagreement.

Four members of the forum were "for further delegation", only one was "against".

There were five abstentions - two of whom were elected members of the cabinet who felt it inappropriate to vote as they were going to convey the forum's views back to colleagues before a final decision.

Ms Hardcastle's comment that "a forum's advice can be totally disregarded if it conflicts with local education authority policy" and "the authority ignored us (primary headteachers and governors) and is doing it anyway" is a touch naive.

The track record of the cabinet in Leicestershire towards the forum is good. Every bit of advice given has been adopted in the budget proposals for 20045.

On two occasions the forum has been split, and then the cabinet has made a decision on the basis of what it believes to be best for the service.

Jackie Strong

Director of education

Leicestershire

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