Letter to BBC East Midlands Today
I am surprised that Tom Brown’s report this evening (7 November 2012) did not actually convey the reality of the funding that is available to schools that become academies and that he instead repeated some of the misinformation put about in the pro-academy lobby’s propaganda.
There is not “a big pot of additional cash” available to schools in the way that Tom Brown suggested. What the schools gets is a sum of money referred to as ‘LACSEG’ – which is a sum that the school will then need to spend in order to obtain services that were previously provided for them “centrally” by the local authority. Schools actually have very little freedom regarding how they spend this money… they have still to fulfil a number of statutory obligations and so cannot spend the money on anything they please in the way that supporters of academies like to pretend.
It‘s a bit sad too to have school pupils appearing on screen repeating offering unconvincing endorsements of the “principles” underpinning academies. “It makes us a better school than the others” and “we get funding to spend on computers” were the two most obvious examples this evening.
I recognise that these are complex issues, that their coverage presents a challenge for the reporting and editorial staff and that there is only a certain amount of time that will be spent on any one news report in your programme. However, I do feel it is imperative that facts should be presented accurately. I hope and expect that a more accurate balance of opinion will be seen to have been reflected in Tom Brown’s coverage by the time his series of reports concludes.