Inevitable crisis

16th May 2003 at 01:00
Schools face Funding Crisis Mark II this autumn with a shortfall in sixth-form budgets of up to pound;60 million. This was yet another accident waiting to happen as the Government shifted schools' funding for A-levels to the Learning and Skills Council.

A hypothetical figure was put on the total cost of sixth forms and the cash allocated. It will surprise no one that the pot proved inadequate.

Like Crisis Mark I, it raised expectations. Ministers guaranteed to protect budgets in real terms (without a clear definition of what that meant) then left the LSC to get on with it.

More efficient funding of A-levels was needed to sort out the variations in spending between schools and colleges. Headteachers recognised this and went into the debate willingly. But, unless ministers now act quickly to resolve this row, they will find yet another area where goodwill has evaporated.

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