Schools pot is topped up

8th December 2006 at 00:00
Education remains the Government's number one priority the Chancellor pledged this week, as he announced an extra pound;130 million to be shared among schools in England.

From April, the direct payments received by a typical primary would increase from pound;39,000 to pound;50,000, Gordon Brown said in his pre-budget report. A typical secondary receiving pound;150,000 this year would see direct payments, for heads to use as they saw fit, rising to pound;200,000.

The Every Child a Reader programme - catch-up tuition for six-year-olds - is to be gradually extended nationwide, allowing a 30,000 children to benefit from the scheme by 2010, according to Jean Gross, the project's director.

There would also be 3 million free books going direct to children as the scheme to lift reading standards is extended from children aged one to five and 11 year-olds, the Chancellor said.

On capital spending he said by 2010 state school per pupil investment would match the independent sector, a year earlier than his 2011 target announced in March.

Despite newspaper headlines implying extra billions for school buildings, the plans to rebuild or completely refurbish half of all primaries and 90 per cent of secondaries are nothing new.

Chris Keates, NASUWT general secretary, said: "While refurbishment and rebuild are crucial, the Chancellor must ensure that future funding addresses the need for teachers and headteachers to receive salary levels which recruit, retain and motivate."

The re-announcement of the Building Schools for the Future programme came as the Government admitted that there was a worrying lack of talent to deliver the ambitious 15-year programme.

Sally Brooks, head of schools capital at the Department for Education and Skills, told the Commons education committee there was only a "small pool of expertise" in managing major education construction projects.

Mick Brookes, National Association of Head Teachers general secretary, warned that the focus on building and refurbishing school premises in the future should not divert anyone's attention from the work going on in the classroom.

How it adds up...

Direct payments for the typical primary school will rise from pound;39,000 to pound;50,000 in April

Direct payments for the typical secondary to rise from pound;150,000 to Pounds 200,000

Capital investment in state schools will match the amount spent in the independent sector by 2010

Every Child a Reader programme to be extended throughout the United Kingdom Five and 11-year-olds to receive free books

pound;10 million to be spent in 2007-08 and pound;6 million a year afterwards to support secondary pupils falling behind in reading and writing

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