Boards ‘disappointed’ with plans to end School Improvement Grant

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The Local Government Association says it is “disappointed” with the government’s plans to cut a £ 50million grant for school improvement.

Currently, the boards ” core improvement activities ‘- which include alerting and responding to underperforming schools – are supported by the School Improvement Tracking and Brokerage Grant, with’ additional improvement services ”financed by the delegation of the budgetary shares of the schools.

A consultation with the Ministry of Education proposes to remove the subsidy and fund all improvement activities through school budgets.

While the current arrangements assume a “clear distinction” between basic and additional improvement activities, this “no longer reflects the reality of the effective functioning of boards,” the consultation document said.

It says less than one in five boards have issued a warning to schools in each of the past three years, suggesting that “the grant is primarily used for early challenge and support” rather than formal intervention.

The document adds: “The role of local authorities in school improvement has changed dramatically in recent years, with the growth of school-led approaches, such as multi-academy trusts, putting school improvement in the hands of schools. of the strongest schools and principals.

“In turn, the role of local authorities in improving schools in maintained schools is increasingly focused on helping their schools access the support they need from the school system. “

In view of these changes, he argues that “the time has come to review the improvement functions of local authorities in schools and the way they are financed”.

However, Nick Brook, deputy general secretary of the principals union NAHT, told Schools Week: Academy trusts.

Anntoinette Bramble (Lab), chair of the Local Government Association’s Children and Youth Council, said: “We are disappointed the government is considering removing a grant that councils use to support and facilitate school improvement in schools. school, as well as asking schools to pay for this support when their budgets are already exhausted.

“The councils have played a crucial role in supporting all schools during the pandemic, which the proposed changes risk undermining. They retain the majority of their legal obligations to promote high standards of education in their regions, but now have to rely on schools to fund these tasks from their own overburdened budgets. “

The grant is allocated to boards based on the number of schools they run. In 2021-2022, the largest amount went to Lancashire CC (£ 1.1million), followed by Hampshire CC (£ 965,000.


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