Peering over the parapet

October 30, 2009 5:02 PM

All parties agree that spending cuts are required. All parties have suggested that the semi-autonomous sector is a good place to start.

Cue public bodies sniping at each other, in a fraught bid to survive the cull. The Times Educational Supplement this week carries details of the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES) identifying programmes and bodies that should be ‘phased out’. For example, the UKCES reckons that British Educational Communications and Technology Agency (Becta) should be scaled back, as they have no role in further education.

Our thoughts on education quangos have been explained before. Put simply, there are too many trying to do similiar things. Power should be given to schools to control their own finances and drive their own strategy to improve attainment. If this was the case bodies such as Becta could be abolished, let alone scaled back.

With the election looming, bodies are clearly digging their heels in. Any future Government needs to see beyond this posturing. The ‘difficult decisions’ we’ve heard so much about need to be substantiated very soon, and quango-infighting should be ignored; bold cuts should be made on the merit of their case.

All parties agree that spending cuts are required. All parties have suggested that the semi-autonomous sector is a good place to start.

Cue public bodies sniping at each other, in a fraught bid to survive the cull. The Times Educational Supplement this week carries details of the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES) identifying programmes and bodies that should be ‘phased out’. For example, the UKCES reckons that British Educational Communications and Technology Agency (Becta) should be scaled back, as they have no role in further education.

Our thoughts on education quangos have been explained before. Put simply, there are too many trying to do similiar things. Power should be given to schools to control their own finances and drive their own strategy to improve attainment. If this was the case bodies such as Becta could be abolished, let alone scaled back.

With the election looming, bodies are clearly digging their heels in. Any future Government needs to see beyond this posturing. The ‘difficult decisions’ we’ve heard so much about need to be substantiated very soon, and quango-infighting should be ignored; bold cuts should be made on the merit of their case.

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