As part of its systematic attempt to weaken the power of largely Labour (and now almost never Conservative) controlled LEAs, the present Conservative Administration introduced the option for schools to hold a ballot of parents and opt out of LEA control, receiving their funds directly from the DEE as a 'grant maintained' school. This did not give much more budgetary control, given the introduction of 'Local Management of Schools' (LMS) under which schools are funded on a mandatory formula on a per pupil basis. However, it did give more control over admissions policies. The scheme has not been successful and in the North fewer than 10% of places are in Grant Maintained Secondary Schools. City Technology Colleges were a new initiative in which wholly new secondary schools were to be created with special links to, and partial financing from, local industries. Industry proved very reluctant to fund these schools and few have been provided. There are only two in the North of England. The Gateshead CTC 'Emannuel College' was funded in part by a local car dealership whose owners are strong fundamentalist Christians and has a distinct 'born again' character although it does admit non-Christians.

Copyright Sociological Research Online, 1996