Budget 2018: £400m to help schools buy 'little extras'

Heads' union says budget, which has 'more money for potholes than schools', will 'infuriate' school leaders

Martin George

Budget 2018

Schools will share £400 million to help them buy "the little extras they need", the chancellor has announced.

Philip Hammond's reference to "little extras" for schools prompted anger and ridicule on Twitter.

Unveiling the 2018 Budget this afternoon, Mr Hammond said the government was "investing record amounts in our schools", but acknowledged that "schools budgets do not stretch to that extra bit of kit that would make such a difference".

He described the extra £400 million as an "in-year bonus to help our schools buy the little extras they need; a one-off capital payment directly to schools averaging £10,000 per primary school and £50,000 per secondary school".

The NAHT headteachers' union said the announcement would "infuriate school leaders", adding that the Budget had "more money proposed for potholes than for pupils".

School governor Rachel Gooch described the £400 million funding as "a frigging insult".

Lucy Powell, a Labour member of the Commons Education Select Committee described the chancellor's reference to "little extras" as "so patronising".

Mr Hammond told MPs that while the government would honour existing PFI contracts, it would abolish the use of PFI and PF2 for future projects.

He said the government will set up a centre for excellence to “actively manage these contracts in the taxpayers’ interest”, starting in the health sector.

The Budget also includes £10 million for a "regional trial to test how to improve retention of early career maths and physics teachers". 

The chancellor also allocated £1.7 million for education programmes in schools to mark the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp.

In a speech where MPs were told "the era of austerity is finally coming to an end", Mr Hammond confirmed a £2 billion increase in funding for mental health services, which is set to include school mental health teams.

The speech also included a big boost for defence spending, and special additional funding for local authorities.

As the chancellor started his speech, education secretary Damian Hinds was standing by the Speaker's chair, rather than taking a prominent seat by Philip Hammond on the front bench where ministers who had won extra funding usually sit.

Ahead of the Budget, education unions set Mr Hammond six tests they would use to judge the success of his statement.

They included demands for a guarantee that schools receive the same money per pupil, in real terms, as they received in 2015, and more money for pupils with SEND.

The unions also called for all teachers to receive the full 3.5 per cent pay rise recommended by the DfE's own expert body – with the entire pay rise fully funded by the government.

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Martin George

Martin George

Martin George is a reporter at Tes

Find me on Twitter @geomr

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