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Top performers are among bigger spenders;News;News and opinion

MANY of the top-scoring comprehensive schools in this week's performance tables are in local authorities spending pound;140 a pupil or more above average.

The authorities with the 20 highest-achieving comprehensives allocate pound;2,556 per pupil on average.

This figure compares with pound;2,416 per pupil in schools at the bottom of the GCSE exam league and excludes funding for city technology colleges which have more generous funding.

The statistics provide only a crude yardstick of value for money. They need to carry a strong health warning, because even between the authorities with the best comprehensives there is a spread of almost pound;1,000 per pupil.

Kensington and Chelsea spends an average of pound;3,380 and Surrey, pound;2,257. And within these authorities, the top-scoring schools could be receiving funding below the LEA average.

Among the councils with the poorest-performing schools, there are differences of more than pound;900. Hammersmith and Fulham allocate an average of pound;2,982 per pupil and Bradford, pound;2,014.

Meanwhile, the Government itself trumpeted the success of specialist schools where an extra pound;120 is allocated per pupil per year for three years.

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