Opt-out fears unfounded, Patten says

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The Independent Online
SCHOOLS thinking of opting out were yesterday promised by the Secretary of State for Education that they will not suffer cuts.

John Patten said suggestions that grant-maintained schools could lose out financially were 'totally unfounded'.

He wrote directly to the head teachers and chairs of governors of all 24,000 schools in England and Wales, contradicting 'misinformation' he believed was being put out by some local councils about the risks of opting out.

Mr Patten knows that Choice and Diversity, his White Paper published last July, has failed to accelerate opting out, largely because schools are waiting to see if they stand to gain in hard cash. Only 300 schools have been approved for grant-maintained status so far.

The Government has yet to disclose how its proposed Common Funding Formula will work, so schools do not know whether they will gain or lose by opting out.

In his letter, Mr Patten promised heads and governors that opted-out schools 'will continue to receive additional funding to reflect their additional responsibilities'.