AN ARTICLE named Medway as one of the minister's "dirty dozen" of local education authorities that spent well below their standard spending assessment for education in 19989 (TES, April 9). The underspend quoted for Medway is pound;5.2 million.
The figure is very misleading. When other expenditure, including education's full share of corporate costs is taken into account, the shortfall reduces to pound;2m.
When Medway came into being, in April 1998, it inherited an under-funded education service and received a very disappointing national settlement. Despite this our first education budget provided real growth for schools of pound;2m - equivalent to an extra pound;50 per pupil, with additional funding for junior schools and for schools in the most socially deprived areas. This growth was only achieved by the council spending well above its capping limit and drawing heavily on its reserves.
This year (1999-2000), despite another disappointing national settlement education spending in Medway will exceed our SSA. Overall, school budgets (even without the additional delegations) will increase by around 6 per cent.
Richard Bolsin Director of education Chatham Maritime Chatham, Kent