Letter: Funding available for GM schools

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The Independent Online
Sir: Your correspondent David Smyth (Letters, 15 March) asserts "that there will be no capital bid this year as the Funding Agency for Schools is broke".

Mr Smyth is misinformed. The Funding Agency for Schools administers an annual budget of around pounds 1.6bn, providing funding to the 1,100 grant-maintained schools in the country. A capital allocation of pounds 138m has been granted to the Agency for the financial year 1996-97 from which the agency has increased by 10 per cent the formula-based capital grant which all GM schools receive, and doubled the amount of money available through a new scheme offering part-funding to complement funds raised by schools themselves.

Full funding will be available for urgent health and safety projects and for the capital consequences of basic need changes. The gearing of capital funding is changing from a system which invited bids and then provided 100 per cent funding for a small proportion of them to one which spreads the available money across far more schools by providing part- funding to a much larger number of projects.

GM schools have been fully informed of all these facts. It is difficult to understand how they can be construed as the consequences of being "broke".

Roger Witts

Head of Communications

Funding Agency for Schools