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Unions 2000 Wednesday, 2 August, 2000, 16:47 GMT 17:47 UK
Teachers fear for education services
islington ed service
Islington's education service is now run privately
By Sean Coughlan at the PAT conference in Cheltenham

Teachers say the government should admit it is planning to "kill off" local education authorities.

Speakers at the annual conference of the Professional Association of Teachers at Cheltenham accused the government of "marginalising and bypassing" local education authorities to the extent that they were now in "terminal decline".
bob gale
Bob Gale wants the government to publicly debate its plans for authorities

Challenging the government to be honest about its long-term plans for local authorities, delegates claimed that education services were being cut back without any public debate about the consequences.

"The government appears to be killing off local education authorities," said Bob Gale.

"Is this its intention? If so, tell us about it and let's have a proper debate."

Powers eroded

Mr Gale, who called on the conference to rally to the defence of locally-accountable education services, pointed to the government's gradual erosion of local authority powers.

This had been highlighted in the recent review of public spending by the government's targeting of extra funding directly to schools, he said.

A decade ago, he said, local authorities had had control over "funding, staffing, contracts, admissions and guidance". Now the pattern was for less and less local authority involvement in schools, he said.

But despite the cutting of local authority influence, Mr Gale attacked the government for setting "searching new targets for local education authorities, many of which will be virtually impossible to guarantee".

As an example, he pointed to the target of cutting exclusions by a third, which would become more difficult after the government's own guidelines making it easier for schools to exclude violent pupils.

See also:

18 Jul 00 | CSR
01 Jun 00 | Unions 2000
29 Jun 00 | UK Education
17 May 00 | UK Education
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