HC Deb 30 April 1990 vol 171 cc708-9
2. Mr. Livsey

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will make a statement on the progress of the Welsh counties towards implementing the proposals for the local management of schools.

The Minister of State, Welsh Office (Mr. Wyn Roberts)

Schemes for the local management of schools have been formally approved for each of the local education authorities in Wales, and they came into force on 1 April.

Mr. Livsey

Does the Minister accept that LMS is causing a complete shambles in schools, especially in relation to their staffing? In my constituency alone, 11 teachers in comprehensive schools are being made redundant and there is underfunding of £120,000, despite the best efforts of the education authority to put that right. That is affecting the quality of children's education. We are not really talking about LMS: we are talking about a hell of a mess.

Mr. Roberts

All that I can tell the hon. Gentleman is that his local education authority—Powys—takes a very different view from the one that he is advancing, since it is proposing to phase in delegation to all secondary and primary schools with more than 100 pupils on their rolls by 1 April 1991; it does not have to do so until 1993. There is a clear commitment to extending delegation in Powys to all schools covered by the scheme in due course.

Mr. Raffan

Although the vast majority of head teachers in my constituency welcome the introduction of LMS, some are seriously concerned about the effect of pupil-led funding on schools' ability to pay experienced staff. Can my hon. Friend reassure them that they will not be forced to dispense with experienced staff to keep costs down?

Mr. Roberts

It is for the local managers of schools to decide on their staffing. I know that this is causing some concern, but the scheme of local management is bound to involve payment of average teacher costs by local education authorities, and sometimes an actual charge can be different.