The Department for Education have just released a paper entitled:
Department for Education addresses £1bn of unrealistic inherited spending commitments
In it they state:
"We have previously announced small cuts of £8m to specialist schools capital, of £15m to the extended schools programme, and of £50m to Harnessing Technology grants, as contribution to the Chancellor’s £6.2bn fiscal consolidation, and in order to make progress this year on the government’s commitment to free schools."
The go on to announce that they will further reduce the Harnessing technology grant as follows:
"Harnessing Technology: £50m. a further saving is being achieved. The programme will now be worth £100m to all local authorities. They have received the first quarterly payment and will get the second, giving them time to plan to reconfigure their broadband and IT infrastructure programmes."
The DfE attempts to pre-empt some key questions:
"Q Does this mean that you do not see IT as a contributor to the improvement of educational standards – you have just also disbanded Becta?
A Appropriate IT is a strong supported of good teaching and learning. It is however now well embedded in schools, and we do not think that further hypothecated capital investment is needed."
Q Does this mean that schools will have to abandon broadband contracts that are essential to a data rich IT environment?
A These contracts are a call on revenue, not capital, funding."
Whatever your opinion might be of the DfE's position LBR will necessarily invest "time to plan to reconfigure their broadband and IT infrastructure". If you wish to share your opinion - you are welcome to comment on this blog. You may well wish to read today's news within the context of the LGFL executive position previously published on this blog.