William Eichler 15 November 2016

Whitehall should ‘reverse’ £600m education cut

The Government should reverse the £600m proposed reduction to the Education Services Grant (ESG), council chiefs say.

The Local Government Association (LGA) has warned the cut would make it hard to maintain improvement capacity within the schools system - something that would impact on both council-maintained schools and academies.

‘We do not believe there is capacity within the system to withdraw funding and powers for councils to support school improvement and hold schools to account in August 2017 as currently planned by the Government,’ said Cllr Richard Watts, chair of the LGA’s children and young people board.

‘The £600m proposed cut to the Education Services Grant should be reversed to maintain improvement capacity within the schools system. This will benefit both council-maintained schools and academies.’

The LGA’s submission to the Treasury ahead of the Autumn Statement argued that in recent years approximately £815m per year has been spent on the ESG for councils and academies.

The proposed reduction will leave councils with little resource to perform their statutory duties, such as education welfare, early years, and exam validation, the LGA warned.

The association also pointed out that the support available through Teaching School Alliances, Multi-Academy Trusts and Regional Schools Commissioners is not yet geographically comprehensive and does not have the track record of success that council school improvement and oversight has.

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