Mark Whitehead 01 November 2016

End of education grants ‘academisation by back door’

Local authority leaders have branded a government move to end education grants to councils as ‘academisation by the back door’.

The Education Services Grant (ESG), which funds a range of services local authorities can sell to schools, is to be removed completely by August next year.

But research by the County Councils Network (CCN) showed that more than two thirds of academies purchase school improvement services from local authorities.

It warns that as non-academy schools have very little budget of their own for school improvement services, this could leave them vulnerable to academisation due to poor performance. At the same time academies will be left without support from their local authorities.

The CCN has written to education secretary Justine Greening demanding a review of the decision.

The network's chairman Cllr Paul Carter said the move would leave councils with 'a virtually non-existent budget' to improve standards.

'The withdrawal of ESG will have a massively detrimental impact on local primary schools and leave councils unable to support academy schools.

'Was this really the intention behind the decision? You could argue this is forced academisation by the back door.'

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