Heads get pound;300m to spend as they like

24th March 2000 at 00:00
Budget gives hard-pressed schools something to cheer about - and there may be more to come. Clare Dean and Nicolas Barnard report.

THE pound;1 billion Budget boost for education will put nearly pound;300 million directly into the hands of headteachers.

It will be a cause of celebration for many and the good news is that there may be more to come in the summer.

For, although the Budget windfall this year for schools is a one-off, the comprehensive spending review in July is likely to be favourable to education. Currently, pound;37.7bn is spent every year on schools in England and Wales.

This week's Budget gives a typical secondary in England a direct grant of pound;40,000 extra in the year from April. Primary schools will receive up to pound;9,000 each.

Alongside the cash for schools, there will be an extra pound;20m to help primary schools provide catch-up literacy and numeracy tuition for the weakest pupils.

Primaries involved in the Excellence in Cities programme will get an additional pound;25m to employ learning mentors and support the most able pupils.

There will be another pound;250m to help repair and transform schools, as well as pound;300m for new buildings and pound;60m for city academies and failing schools.

A further pound;53m has been allocated to triple the number of pilots for education maintenance allowances, where 16-year-olds are paid to stay in education or training.

An extra pound;33m brings seven more councils into the Excellence in Cities programme - Tyne and Wear, Teesside, Bristol, Nottingham City, Hull, Barking andDagenham and Ealing.

In all, pound;837m will go on education in England, with the rest of the pound;1bn split between Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. The pound;300m direct grant differs from last year's one-off grant of pound;2,000 to every school for books, as heads will have carte blanche to spend the money as they see fit. Mr Brown said it was for "books, equipment and staffing".

The decision to give the grant directly to schools is meant to counter criticism that they have seen little of the much-touted pound;19bn extra that the Government last year promised to spend on education by 2002.

John Dunford, general secretary of the Secondary Heads Association, said: "We have been saying for the last 18 months that the money has not been getting through ... it looks like the message has hit home."

Both SHA and the National Association of Head Teachers, along with governors, hoped the move would pave the way for a new funding system.

Giving the money to heads has been seen by some as a further move to bypass local authorities.

But Graham Lane, education chair of the Local Government Association, said:

"They have actually done exactly what we wanted. They have funded the teachers' pay settlement and given schools more on top."



Up to 100 pupils - pound;3,000

101-200 pupils - pound;6,000

201 pupils and over - pound;9,000


All get pound;15,000


Up to 600 pupils - pound;30,000

601-1200 pupils - pound;40,000

1,201 pupils and over - pound;50,000

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