Funding puzzle hits post-16s

18th August 2000 at 01:00
SIXTH-FORMERS are being deprived of textbooks in a funding row between schools, councils and the Government, according to an educational pressure group.

The School Book Alliance - a coalition of teachers, parents and educationists - claimed students were having to share books or buy their own.

It said the problem stemmed from a dispute between ministers, headteachers and councils over how next year's new broader curriculum for 16 to 18-year-olds will be funded.

Changes will include A-level exams with pupils taking up to five modular subjects, new-style AS-levels and vocational qualifications.

Sir Alan Davies, head of Copland Community School in Wembley and an SBA member, said: "Schools are always short of funds but more so this year.

"It is every student's right to have at least one textbook per subject covering their coursework. The problem could have been avoided i everyone knew in advance what their grants should be spent on."

Meanwhile, headteachers complained that the pound;35 million the Government had promised for the changes had failed to reach them and said they were now having to raid next year's budgets.

A survey of 129 schools by the National Association of Head Teachers found that 71 per cent received no additional funding specifically for the post-16 curriculum.

It also showed 67 per cent of schools had used money from general funds to pay for the new curriculum and 77 per cent had dipped into next year's budget.

David Hart, general secretary of the NAHT, said: "Schools with sixth forms have been short-changed to deliver the Government's new post-16 curriculum."

But Dave Wilcox, the Local Government Association's education finance chairman, said: "No LEA was made aware of how much money was for sixth forms."

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