Letter: Better arithmetic for technology colleges

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The Independent Online
Sir: Yesterday's article (28 September) on the new technology colleges says 'only 6 per cent of secondary schools are eligible to bid for cash under the new initiative as only grant maintained and aided schools can apply'. Surely your arithmetic is wrong as there are 4,000 secondary schools in England and Wales, of which 500 are aided and 500 are self-governing grant maintained. This equates to one quarter - 25 per cent of all secondary schools, not 6 per cent.

Moreover, all the other 3,000 maintained schools are eligible to apply for funding, provided they also seek grant-maintained status. Of the 50 or so schools that have announced their intention to apply for technology college status so far, one half are currently county schools.

It seems reasonable that, as the Government funds approximately 85 per cent of the cost of local government through grant and the distribution of the uniform business rate, it should be able to target some of its funding, especially as technology colleges need to have independent governing bodies to make the changes required. Moreover, there is nothing to stop local education authorities from giving additional funds from their own resources, both capital and revenue, to schools wishing to specialise in teaching technology. Wandsworth Council has, for example, invested some pounds 2.5m in the former Battersea Park School to convert it into the first local authority funded CTC-style school. There are similar examples in Lincoln and Canterbury.

Yours faithfully,

CYRIL TAYLOR

Chairman

City Technology Colleges Trust

London, SW7

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