Leicestershire MPs challenge academy school financing

MPs across Leicestershire have said they are to challenge the government over academy schools funding.

Leicestershire County Council said it could be forced to save an extra £10m each year because more schools were applying for academy status.

Academies get money directly from central government, meaning local education authorities get less funding.

The Tory-led authority said it could struggle to save £98m by 2015/16 when schools were opting out of its control.

'Ease our position'

Council leader David Parsons said he disagreed with the scheme because the county had "some of the best schools" and "some of the best results" in the country.

"Because of the academies programme, the government is effectively putting a tax on local authorities of about £100 per pupil, per year," the Conservative leader said.

"We need the help of our MPs to say that we can't afford that in Leicestershire.

"It amounts to about £10m per year that would go out of our budget to fund our academies and we're asking for help from our members of Parliament, to the secretary of state to try to ease our position."

A group of Leicestershire MPs have agreed to raise the issue with Education Secretary Michael Gove about how the financial problem could be solved.

One of the MPs, Nicky Morgan, the Conservative MP for Loughborough, said: "I do firmly believe that the best people to run the schools are head teachers, teachers and governing bodies.

"It is the right way to go, but clearly funding is always going to be an issue, particularly at a time of transition and change."

She added that they would "push very hard" to meet with Mr Gove.

Leicestershire has 10 academy schools with eight in process of converting and further 25 schools under consideration.

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