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Thursday, 18 July, 2002, 11:14 GMT 12:14 UK
Will schools money make a difference?
Education secretary Estelle Morris is to outline to the Commons on Tuesday how an extra £12.8bn is to be allocated for schools, colleges and universities in England.
The funds are part of a £61bn rise in public spending over the next three years announced by the Chancellor, Gordon Brown on Monday.
Proposals for up to 300 advanced specialist schools are said to form the main part of secondary school reforms.
And schemes to tackle bad behaviour and truancy could be extended across the country.
However, the increased funding will be matched by a tougher response to failing schools and local authorities.
Will the extra money promised for education make a difference to your school? Are there too many conditions attached to the funding?
This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.
Stacey Turner, England
More specialist schools, more choice and more tiers... Is this good news?
For special educational needs schools, definitely not! This is a system which will reward the elite at the expense of the vulnerable.
Test, test, test, standards, standards, standards. Ahem, how about providing a rounded balanced education which contextualises the knowledge the children are encouraged to learn? Spend TIME guiding the reasoning that our children develop so that they can aspire to more than being Jade!
Derek Thornton, England
Make each school independent, subject to external examination, and responsible for attracting its own pupils. Spend the money currently wasted on local authorities and central government bureaucracy to fund schools for problem children.
My son is about to move up to secondary school. His time at junior school has been made difficult by indifferent and bitter teachers. I don't think any amount of money will help with this. Today's education problems are associated with attitude problems (the teachers) and with rampant left-wing policies hampering true competitive progress.
In response to Pepe, I think you should learn some facts before you speak on a subject you clearly don't understand. I'm a student in the sixth form and see teachers constantly battling bad attitudes from children who disrupt lessons and have no respect for authority - probably learnt from their parents. Extra money will help in schools but the main demand on education lies with parents. They need to understand that their child isn't always an angel and that discipline is needed.
Back in the 60s, I received an education that was based on blackboards and chalk, and which has given me the basis of a very successful career. But we had a secret weapon back then - teachers who knew how to teach, and classrooms where disruption wasn't tolerated. I don't think that any amount of money will make up for the loss of those two crucial elements. The money will, however, fund a generation of bureaucrats and researchers to spend the next 20 years writing reports analysing failures.
There's no doubt that schools desperately need extra money to repair crumbling fabric and replace outdated equipment. What a pity, though, that we have to have yet another round of reforms reforming the reforms which reformed the last reforms before it can happen. Obviously nobody in Westminster has realised that constant organisational change diverts resources and attention away from core activities - in this case, teaching. Rather than mess about with reforms to a system which is fundamentally sound, why not focus attention on educating parents who allow their children to truant and bully?
From my experience the main problem is too much emphasis on kids who don't want to be there and cause trouble and little attention paid to kids who work hard and want to learn. Again it appears this new money is to be targeted at the former.
Andrew Howlett, England
A reform of the education system usually means telling the teachers they've been doing it all wrong since the last reform. They should just pay them more and stop this constant nagging about improving standards, with its inevitable implication that standards are not good enough. Any teacher who is still working in the current environment is a saint, and just needs more money.
I question if this is real new money or just another repackaged budget of existing money already destined for the schools. As a chair of governors it is very frustrating to receive extra monies from central government which always comes with conditions that make it virtually impossible to spend where it is desperately needed. The best way to improve the education of our children is to allow the teachers to teach, and not turn them into data crunching robots who have to achieve the 'targets'. If this government wants to spend REAL extra money, rebuild school premises and upgrade all teaching aids and resources.
The school where my daughter goes desperately needs new equipment, but the head teacher there recently bought photocopiers that also send/receive e-mail!! It seems to me that they may need the extra money but they have to be prudent with it, maybe where there are head teachers wasting money like this that they loose the right to their own budget and things are bought for them.
Jason: I think the photocopiers would also send fax not e-mail. Even if they did they are probably not much dearer than standard photocopiers. I am pretty sure the head is aware of what is needed in her/his school.
If the money is spent on teachers, buildings and equipment it should make a great difference. I do however not hold my breath for that to happen as windfalls like these seem to increase administration and the money is spent on hiring more administrators.
Richard George, England
Education gets offered £12.8bn and there are still people who moan about it! If, as they say, this money won't make much of a difference to schools/colleges, then perhaps we should rethink things.
This is the only money available, and if it's not going to make any difference to the education sector, perhaps the NHS would be more grateful to receive it. So education chiefs - stop moaning and start planning properly!
How is investing yet more money going to solve the problems of bad behaviour among pupils, low morale among teachers, the relatively low status of the teaching profession etc, that underpin falling levels of recruitment and increasing numbers of teachers leaving the profession?
If teachers were allowed to administer discipline without the PC lobby whining on and if the heavy admin load were lifted we might get somewhere.
Throwing money at a problem of this scale is only the start. How that money is spent, and how efficiently it is targeted and prioritised is paramount. If the money goes into resources allowing teachers to actually do what they are paid to do (teach, in case anyone has forgotten) and not spending their time under a mountain of paperwork, then no problem.
All in all that money should just about cover the overtime, temporary teachers, auditors, inspectors, computer systems and special advisors required for schools to gain the extra funding. At this rate the local school will become the major commerce centre of a town, with teaching being a minority activity.
16 Jul 02 | Education
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