Heads attack cash inequality

31st March 2000 at 01:00
PRIMARY headteachers this week attacked the Government for the huge differences in Budget pay-outs they and their secondary-school neighbours will receive, Julie Henry writes.

Gordon Brown's pound;1 billion boost for education, announced in last week's Budget, will put nearly pound;300 million into school budgets.

But while a primary school with more than 201 pupils is in line for pound;9,000, a secondary with up to 600 pupils will receive pound;30,000.

An analysis of council budgets by the National Association of Head Teachers has already revealed that primary schools are on average almost pound;700 per pupil per year worse off than their secondary neighbours.

On average, councils give 39 per cent more cash for a secondary pupil and Labour has now been accused of exacerbating the difference.

Barry Dawson, chair of the National Primary Headteachers Association, said:

"Where is the evidence that a secondary pupil needs more than three times as much as a sibling in a primary of the same size?

"Every report and all research into funding has come to the same conclusion - additional investment in primaries is essential, overdue and far more effective than the equivalent spent on secondaries."

Steve Smurthwaite,head of the 850-pupil St George's primary, in Birkenhead, said: "There are four primaries around here with more than 500 pupils. We feed into secondaries that are smaller than us.

"Any money is welcome but there seems to be a rigid primarysecondary split which gives no consequence to the size of school."

Ian Morton, headteacher at the 620-pupil Brampton primary in Newham, east London, added: "I am angry and disappointed.

"Yet again the existence of schools such as ours has not even been acknowledged, let alone properly thought about when deciding on the formula for distributing money."

The Department for Education and Employment said that primary schools had already received extra money to tackle, for example, their over-large infant classes.

Meanwhile, it has been revealed that nursery schools will be excluded from the one-off Budget payments as the money going directly to heads is only for key stages 2 and 3.

WHAT SCHOOLS WILL GET

Primary

100 or fewer pupils - pound;3,000

101-200 pupils- pound;6,000

201 pupils and over - pound;9,000

Special

pound;15,000

Secondary

Up to 600 pupils - pound;30,000

601-1,200 pupils - pound;40,000

More than 1,200 pupils - pound;50,000


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