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Budget2000 Tuesday, 21 March, 2000, 16:26 GMT
Extra 1bn pledged for education
Education across the UK is to receive an extra 1bn for next year.

But instead of delivering all the money through local education authorities, the Department for Education will be paying 300m directly to head teachers in England for books, equipment and staffing.
Budget 2000
3,000 - 9,000 for each primary school

30,000 - 50,000 for each secondary school

15,000 for each special school

An average of 45 extra per pupil

20m for "catch-up" lessons

53m for allowances to keep teenagers in education

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The Chancellor, Gordon Brown, said in his Budget speech that there would be an 8% above-inflation annual increase in education spending from 1 April, and set about answering critics who have claimed that extra money has so far often failed to reach the classroom.

Primary schools in England are to receive extra cash for spending on books, equipment and staff - with the smallest getting 3,000 and those with more than 200 pupils receiving 9,000.

Secondary schools are to receive at least 30,000 - and those with more than 1,000 pupils will get 50,000.

There will also be an additional 20m for "catch-up" classes in school holidays, designed to improve test results.

The government says that this represents an increase of more than 10% above inflation for schools in England - worth an average of 45 extra per pupil.
Gordon Brown Budget 2000
Gordon Brown is putting money into helping students to stay in schools
The Chancellor, in pursuit of the target of 50% of young people entering higher education, also announced 53m extra support for teenage pupils to stay in school - with a threefold expansion of the "educational maintenance allowance" this autumn.

This provides a means-tested 30 per week allowance which allows 16 to 19-year-olds to stay in full-time education.

The Education Secretary, David Blunkett, said school spending in England would now increase by 10.4% in the coming financial year - 180 per pupil.

"This is real extra money for schools. Over the three years to 2001/02, it means an average real-terms increase per pupil of 300. That compares with a cut of 50 under the last three Tory budgets," he said.

The chancellor said there would be separate, detailed announcements later this week by Mr Blunkett and on the allocations for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, but overall spending on UK education would now be going up in real terms from 1 April by 8%.

Long-running wrangle

The shift to paying schools directly follows a long-running dispute between the government and local authorities, with claims that councils were failing to pass on extra funding intended for schools.

The National Association of Head Teachers claimed last year that seven out of 10 local authorities had failed to increase spending to the extent expected by the government.

While the government has accused councils of wasting money on bureaucracy, local authorities have blamed the government for under-funding the increasing demands placed on their budgets - including the teachers' pay rise.

The extra funding will also seek to counter the repeated claims from the opposition parties and teachers' unions that the government is not providing 'new' money.

The Conservatives have previously accused the government of performing a "con trick" over education spending, with a stream of re-announcements exaggerating the actual expenditure.

After the Budget speech, Liberal Democrat education spokesman Phil Willis accused the government of putting tax cutting before investment in education.

"It is now clear that the Government have abandoned their 'education, education, education' priority. This year just 1bn extra will go to schools, compared with a 2.6bn cut in basic tax."

The BBC's Mike Baker reports
"An unusual move"
Gordon Brown
"More cash will go directly into the classroom"

Brown's Budget
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See also:

21 Mar 00 | Budget2000
21 Feb 00 | UK Education
25 Nov 99 | UK Education
24 Jun 99 | UK Education
22 Apr 99 | UK Education
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