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Monday, 11 December, 2000, 17:41 GMT
Sixth forms face book shortage
Money is being withheld, the School Book Alliance says
Local education authorities are withholding money earmarked by the government for books for the new A- and AS-level curriculum, a pressure group claims.

The School Book Alliance - made up of parents, teachers and educational bodies - says sixth forms are facing a book shortage as a result.

We were promised we would not have to do this on the cheap and that is precisely what's happening

Lesley Hughes, head teacher
Chairman of the alliance, Michael Marland - who is himself a teacher - said the government should ring-fence cash for text books, without giving local authorities a say in how it is spent.

"It is impossible for heads to plan something this important without the right funding," he said.

Lesley Hughes, head of Longcroft School in Beverley in the East Riding of Yorkshire said her school did not receive the 35,000 it was due.

"We really wanted to support the AS curriculum and embrace the spirit of what the secretary of state was looking for."

Leaky roof

But in order to do so, she said, the school has had to use money it had saved up to mend a leaky roof.

"So the roof hasn't been repaired and we have to move pupils out of class when it gets really bad.

"We were promised we would not have to do this on the cheap and that is precisely what's happening," she said.

Head of Wath-upon-Dearne Comprehensive in Rotherham, South Yorkshire, Robert Godber, said students were having to share books for some subjects.

"We are taking resources from lower down the school to pay for the new system - we are having to rob Peter to pay Paul," he said.

Mystery money

Education chairman for the Local Government Association, Graham Lane, said there was some mystery surrounding the money.

"It was a very small amount of cash that no-one has identified - no-one has been able to find it.

"Schools do need more money for books, but local authorities are not keeping it back because they've got no money to keep back," Mr Lane said.

The Department for Education and Employment claimed the money going to councils in England for 2001-2 included 95m for the changes in post-16 education.

A DfEE spokesman said the department would be pressing local authorities to pass the extra funding to schools.

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See also:

25 Jan 00 | Education
Heads hit out at book shortages
13 Sep 00 | Education
'Fool's gold' of school computers
11 Dec 00 | Education
School cash 'creamed off'
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