AS a boxing promoter might say, Tuesday is judgement day for Worcestershire schools.

At around 3.30pm, Local Government Secretary Stephen Byers will stand up in the Commons and reveal the county's spending settlement for next year.

But Mr Byers' announcement will not signal the end of what has been at times a bitter political bout to secure Worcestershire's schools a better deal.

(Let's not forget the classic letter exchange in which Mike Foster accused Peter Luff of being 'dim' prompting Peter to mock his opponent in the Commons)

Instead, it will merely herald the start of Round Two.

Because the different parties are bound to disagree on just how bad or good the news is not to mention who should take the credit.

Will it be the Labour MPs who presented 4,000 letters to the Government and met with Mr Byers to press the county's case?

Or will it be the Opposition MPs and head teachers who held a separate ministerial meeting a few days later, with Mr Byers' deputy, Dr Alan Whitehead?

And what of the threatened High Court challenge by the head teachers? Will that go ahead and how much influence did it have?

Behind the scenes, the manoeuvring is already taking place.

Mike Foster, a former accountant, admits that he has got his best calculator ready.

Peter Luff, meanwhile, has gone a step further. He has issued a Press release warning people to be on the look-out for Labour spin.

It reads: The figures will need to be treated with great caution. Local Labour MPs will be briefed on them before the rest of us and will be able to present them in the most favourable light.

The rest of us including the county council will be told later and will need time to examine them and to reach a proper judgement on their likely impact.

He has even drawn up a five-point list of tests to apply to the figures.

This includes the questions: Has funding per primary pupil moved closer to the Shire County average? Has funding per secondary pupil moved closer to the Shire County average? And is the total money available for Worcestershire schools a significantly higher sum than this year, after allowing for inflation?

All we can do now is hope for a good, clean fight...