Wilson spells out the targets

17th July 1998 at 01:00
Brian Wilson, the Education Minister, echoed the Chancellor's mantra that the extra millions represented "investment in return for reform".

Announcing the details during a tour of Inveralmond Community High in Livingston with the Secretary of State on Wednesday, Mr Wilson said: "We will target the extra cash to ensure that it achieves significant improvements in attainment at all levels. Necessary changes will be delivered. We have a radical agenda for raising attainment for all."

Ministers are making clear that the extra sums represent new money on top of the cash already allocated to schools from April as a result of the Chancellor's first two Budgets, which released a total of Pounds 222 million.

The only sum previously announced was Pounds 36 million to extend early intervention from a Pounds 24 million scheme over three years to a Pounds 60 million programme over five years.

Mr Wilson said the additional money would be targeted on the Government's priorities, which he defined as an environment fit for learning, the best possible start in pre-school and primary, committed staff, modern information technology, generating habits of study and parental support, and a commitment to excellence.

The measures include Pounds 185 million extra to build new schools and tackle the backlog of repairs (on top of the Pounds 116 million capital allocation from Labour's first budget), Pounds 49 million to reduce class sizes in the first three years of primary using savings from the assisted places scheme, Pounds 66 million for classroom assistants and Pounds 55 million to give every three-year-old a nursery place by 2002.

Mr Wilson also announced the establishment of an "excellence fund" designed to target support on projects seen as crucial to raising attainment. This will provide Pounds 90 million next year and a further Pounds 115 million in each of the following two years.

The fund will be used to hire and train classroom assistants, as well as to support out-of-school learning with the aim of establishing some provision in every secondary school by 2002.

The fund is also to be the source for piloting "full-service" schools, expanding in-service, boosting special needs education and introducing "a radical programme" of alternatives to exclusion. Mr Wilson said further announcements would be made in due course.

The new resources will add Pounds 200 per pupil to spending on primary and secondary schools.

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