Small council-maintained schools should be treated the same as small academies and faith schools and be exempt from the Apprenticeship Levy, say council chiefs.
The Levy, which will be introduced next April, will see all businesses including schools with a wage bill over £3m a year contributing 0.5% of that wage bill to fund new apprenticeships.
The Government has said schools which employ their own staff—such as academies and faith schools—and have a wage bill under £3m will be exempt from the Levy.
However, council-maintained schools with a wage bill that comes under the £3m threshold will still be required to pay because their staff are technically employed by a local authority which means they contribute to the overall wage bill of the council.
The Local Government Association (LGA) has called on Whitehall to exempt all schools—not just small academies and faith schools—from the Levy.
‘It is discriminatory for small council-maintained schools not to be exempted from the Apprenticeship Levy in the same way that small academies and faith schools will be,’ said Cllr Richard Watts, chair of the LGA's Children and Young People Board.
‘They will be forced to find additional money to pay the Levy, whilst an academy or faith school with an identical wage bill can invest that money in making sure their pupils get an excellent education.’
Cllr Watts added that once again council schools were being ‘dealt a poor hand compared to academies.’