Local education authorities (LEAs) distribute or spend the large majority of resources for school education in England. Most of this is passed on to their maintained schools or paid in fees to other providers. They retain the remainder to spend on services at a school level and to carry out their statutory duties which include supporting pupils with special educational needs, home-to-school transport and Educational Psychology Services.
The role of LEAs and the funds that they retain has been a subject of public and political interest for some time. The focus on their role has sharpened recently due to the growth in academies, which are independent of LEAs, and particularly the expansion in academies and so-called 'Free Schools' by the new Coalition Government.