Heads angry over plan to grab reserves

13th December 2002 at 00:00
HEADTEACHERS have reacted furiously to new powers giving English local authorities the ability to stop schools building up big bank balances.

New rules being introduced alongside this week's funding changes will see councils given the power to seize the reserves of any school holding more than 5 per cent of their budget.

Only those which have capital projects planned, or other good reasons for hoarding the cash which are to be specified by the local authority, will escape. No school would be forced to cut its reserves below pound;5,000.

David Hart, general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers, said he had no objection in principle to a limit on reserves at 5 per cent. But it was not for the local authority to specify the reasons a school could go beyond the limit. Neither should councils have the power to take the money away and put it back in the budget for all schools.

"What we certainly do not need is for local authorities to be walking all over schools with hobnail boots on, telling them that certain carry-forwards are acceptable and certain are not."

But Graham Lane, chair of education at the Local Government Association, said the present system, which operated without strong sanctions, had allowed schools to build up reserves of pound;1 billion.

Conservatives said that Charles Clarke's statement in the Commons on new funding arrangements contained an embarrassing U-turn. Last month he warned that the Tories' funding proposals would put specific funding for infant class sizes at risk by scrapping funding for infant class sizes. Yet this week he announced that ring-fenced grants for infant class sizes would be scrapped.

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers

Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar, Buyagift.com, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today