Schools consider legal action over £200m budget cuts

Heads of school sixth forms and colleges are considering legal action against the government funding agency responsible for making unexpected cuts of £200m to their budgets. There was an outcry when the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) wrote to sixth forms and colleges last week informing them of cuts to their individual budgets of up to £200,000.

Schools are considering seeking a judicial review of the way in which the LSC handled the cuts, because it knew in January that there were more students enrolled on courses than expected – the reason given for the financial difficulties.

Ed Balls, the education secretary, is already under pressure to explain the confusion over funding, which headteachers and college principals have warned could scupper his plans to introduce new diploma qualifications in September. The row comes after the capital programme for colleges had to be halted suddenly because it was hugely oversubscribed, prompting the resignation of the LSC chief executive, Mark Haysom.