Council cash for special teaching cut

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The Independent Online
KENNETH CLARKE, the Home Secretary, is cutting support for ethnic minorities in schools and communities as part of the fall-out from the public spending round.

Section 11 grants - which meet 75 per cent of the cost of providing special teaching for pupils whose first language is not English, and subsidise careers guidance and other community projects for the ethnic minorities - are being cut after years of steady growth.

The Home Office has told councils that 'with much regret' no new projects will be funded over the next two years. After next year, the Government's contribution will be cut from 75 per cent to 57 per cent, and to 50 per cent in 1995-96.

The pounds 130m of grant, which funded 860 projects this year, 40 per cent in London, will be cut to pounds 90m over the three years.

The Association of London Authorities said the reduction would have 'a devastating effect on already disadvantaged communities'. Chris Adamson, the association's chair of education, added: 'The Government is betraying those most in need of help.'

The Home Office said last night that given the tightness of the spending round, 'it came down to a choice between two evils - cutting the number of projects or cutting the percentage of support'.

It was decided to try to maintain the number of projects, but provide a smaller proportion of grant, the Home Office said. The decision gave councils 16 months notice of the fall-off in funding in the hope that they could find other sources of funds, possibly from the private sector.

The grants go largely to inner-city authorities to tackle disadvantage among ethnic minorities.