Have you noticed?

13th June 2003 at 01:00
I have never seen a National Governors' Council meeting as united as the one held recently in Manchester (see above). There is nothing like a common enemy to pull people together.

The theme of the day was funding and there was a little internal bickering between London boroughs and shire counties about which of us were the most deprived. However, we all agreed that we need more money - now.

David Miliband, school standards minister, wisely chose to address the meeting from the safety of his north-east constituency by telephone link, but civil servant Stephen Crowne bravely appeared in person.

He produced some pretty pie charts to show that the extra money in the education system actually exceeded the extra expenditure. This is not how it feels when trying to set a school budget.

What has happened to all this extra money? Has it slipped down the back of the sofa with the TV remote control?

We were reassured with vague promises about next year's funding but firmly told that there would be no more cash for this year. There is, apparently, nothing in Chancellor Gordon Brown's kitty - except for really important things like wars, of course. So we'll just have to manage, won't we?

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