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Tuesday, September 28, 1999 Published at 08:17 GMT 09:17 UK


'Leafy suburbs' losing out, say heads

The London Oratory School highlighted problems with funding

Headteachers of former grant-maintained schools are to accuse the government of discriminating against them in favour of inner-city schools.

In the wake of the dispute over the London Oratory School asking parents, including the prime minister, for extra funds, the heads of former grant-maintained schools are to call on the government to ensure that their funding is protected.

While additional education spending is being targeted on raising achievement in deprived areas, the Foundation and Voluntary Aided Schools Association says that the needs of state schools in apparently better off areas are being overlooked.

[ image: Grant-maintained schools say they are losing out while the government puts money into deprived areas]
Grant-maintained schools say they are losing out while the government puts money into deprived areas
"Just because a school is in a so-called leafy suburb, that doesn't mean the parents are wealthy. Many will have stretched themselves to the limit to buy houses in the catchment areas of these schools," says the association's chairman, Pauline Latham.

While initiatives such as Education Action Zones has seen more money being invested in schools in poorer areas, the association argues that not enough is being done to tackle the funding shortfall that has accompanied the loss of grant-maintained status.

"If you are a primary school in a deprived area with a big ethnic minority, you will be getting a lot of extra money. But the government should look very carefully at which schools are getting all this money thrown at them. There's no proof yet that it works," said Ms Latham.

"Some of these schools should be closed instead of being propped up and having money thrown at them," she said.

The Foundation and Voluntary Aided Schools Association will also be calling for a national funding formula which would make them less dependent on local authorities passing on money from central government.

The association says that a more "transparent" funding system would prevent local authorities from withholding money that should be delegated to schools.

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