Wednesday, 24 October 2007
Prudence will win out
After today's move by David Cameron to turn the government's consultation on school funding into a major national story, it would be astonishing if No 10 didn't order a retreat in the school surpluses row once the consultation on the regulations has come to an end. The idea was certainly not popular in the consultation about the concept, which ended in June. Of course, this silly idea would never have seen the light of day had the Treasury not been so keen on it in the first place. But it has a long history: Nigel de Gruchy, when he was running the NASUWT teaching union used regularly to complain about the surpluses. The idea was never taken up before because it is hard to justify why a school which puts aside £60,000 or £70,000 for a rainy day should be fined £6,000 for doing so, while a school that goes into deficit can often end up seeking a bailout. But Gordon Brown is also right to point out that it is on his watch that - in an idea originally proposed to a sceptical Treasury - schools have received significant sums through School Standards Grant and Formula Capital for schools to spend as they choose on revenue and capital, which were not available in the Tory days.