Conservative Diary

« Cameron needs an emergency renegotiation plan for a post-€uro Europe | Main | Twenty years ago Margaret Thatcher resigned as Tory leader »

Gove back pedals on direct funding of schools

Tim Montgomerie

Last week, with some excitement, I reported last week's FT cover story about Michael Gove planning to introduce direct funding of schools. I called it a "potentially transformational" reform and urged Mr Gove to "go for it". If money followed the choices of parents it would mean that good schools would grow and under-performing schools would bve forced to raise their game.

Gove on Marr I noted my fear that this reform would probably face fierce opposition from local councillors. That opposition appears to have already succeeded. This morning, on the Andrew Marr show, Michael Gove was back pedalling:

“The Financial Times ran a report of what they thought was going to be in the white paper, fair play to them, journalists often anticipate events, but the truth is that we will be funding schools through local authorities as we do at the moment.”

On the FT Westminster blog Alex Barker sets out in detail why the story he wrote with Chris Cook was accurate. It wasn't based on selective briefings or the word of an indiscreet official but based on extracts from a draft White Paper. That draft included this unambiguous section:

"The Young People’s Learning Agency (YPLA) will extend their current responsibility for funding Academies and Free Schools to funding all schools becoming the Education Funding Agency from April 2013. It would administer the national funding formula to all schools directly as well as post 16 funding ensuring that the maximum amount of money goes directly to schools in a fair, transparent and equitable way.  Local authorities will pass the national funding formula allocation directly to maintained schools until the Education Funding Agency comes into existence."

I had my own confirmation of the story when, on the day the story broke, I spoke to a senior aide to Mr Gove. The FT's story was confirmed. "It is exciting," I was told. Something has clearly happened to dilute the White Paper. Liberal Democrat opposition? Unhappiness from councillors? We may never know but it certainly has been diluted.


You must be logged in using Intense Debate, Wordpress, Twitter or Facebook to comment.