Kent education chiefs to tackle Michael Gove over academy costs
Kent County Council has
spent around £1million on academy conversions
by political editor Paul Francis
Kent County Council is to tackle education secretary
Michael Gove over the costs of arranging for schools to become
academies, saying it is leaving the authority out of
Education chiefs are to write to the Department for Education in
a fresh effort to persuade it to cover the expenses associated with
dealing with academy conversions.
The move comes as MPs criticised over-spending by the DfE on its
academy programme to the tune of £1billion.
A report by the National Audit Office said the government
spent £8.3bn on its academy programme between 2010-2012 - £1bn over
The Conservative-run county council estimates it has spent about
£1m on academy conversions, but - unlike the schools - has
received no additional money to do so.
Schools preparing to convert can qualify for as much as £25,000
to help them prepare for becoming an academy.
A Conservative county councillor has launched a stinging attack
on the government over the arrangements as the authority writes to
Mr Gove (pictured left).
Cllr Roland Tolputt told a meeting of KCC's education
cabinet scrutiny committee: "I believe the figure that Kent has
chalked up is £1m. I am horrified that the county council cannot be
repaid... it is most unfair.
"The schools are given money for legal costs - why can't they
use that. It is quite wrong."
The county council's education director Patrick Leeson said the
issue remained a "bone of contention".
He said: "The costs of an academy conversion is a cost to the
county council. Our legal costs are significant to work through the
process and it is quite complicated work. Schools are provided with
money but we are not.
"I have made representations and had meetings with the DfE but
we have not succeeded in getting any kind of recognition that we
bear costs and they are costs to the taxpayer. It is a bone of
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