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Budget2000 Tuesday, 21 March, 2000, 18:04 GMT
Heads 'delighted' at extra school cash
Gordon Brown
Gordon Brown is giving schools 300m extra
Head teachers have expressed their "delight" at a Budget that has seen 300m extra funding passed directly to schools.

As well as welcoming the increased funding, head teachers are particularly pleased that the money will be delivered straight to schools - by-passing local education authorities.

"Heads will be delighted that the Chancellor has promised extra direct resources for school budgets. It is welcome recognition that the current funding system fails to deliver the money schools need," says David Hart, general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers.
Extra funding
Secondary

Up to 600 pupils: 30,000
600 to 1,200 pupils: 40,000
over 1,200: 50,000

Primary

Up to 100 pupils: 3,000
100 to 200 pupils: 6,000
over 200 pupils: 9,000

For the first time, under the Budget proposals, core funding for staff and equipment for mainstream, non-selective state schools will be paid directly into school budgets.

'Ramshackle funding system'

Opted-out "grant maintained" schools previously received direct funding, but they were abolished by the present government.

Head teachers have claimed in the past that schools have failed to receive extra spending on education, as the money has not been passed on by local authorities.

But welcoming the direct grants in the Budget, Mr Hart now called for a fundamental reform of how schools are funded and the end of the current "ramshackle" system.
john dunford
John Dunford: "Unreservedly good news for schools"
The general secretary of the Secondary Heads Association, John Dunford, also said the Budget was "unreservedly good news" for schools.

"It answers exactly the problem which we have been putting to the government, which is that money is not getting through to the core budgets of secondary schools."

He said the amounts involved - between 30,000 and 50,000 direct to each school for books, equipment and staffing - would make "a substantial difference".

Mr Dunford's union has been campaigning for a move away from the complex formula that means schools in different areas get widely different amounts per pupil, and liked the fact that local education authorities were being cut out.

"We are looking to a different way in which the government will be funding schools in the future," he said, with the government promising proposals this summer.
Doug McAvoy
Doug McAvoy hopes the extra spending is not a "mirage"
"This perhaps points a way forward," he said.

But most schools could certainly use more. At Ashley Primary in South Shields, Tyne and Wear, the head teacher, Phil Grice, is contemplating putting the extra he will be getting towards paying off a loan for building a new 55,000 classroom, the repayments on which are 9,000 a year.

He was not unduly worried by the idea that Labour's priority - "education, education, education" - has apparently become "health, health, education".

"I think this government have made serious attempts to address funding issues in schools," he said on BBC News 24.

"But they've tended to have their own agenda rather than talking to the schools or giving the schools the flexibility to deal with individual problems.

"I think this money - the 9,000 - will address that issue for us."

End to "crisp packet" funding

The leader of the biggest teachers' union, the National Union of Teachers gave a guarded welcome.

"I hope this is not another mirage. Schools need real additional funding," said the general secretary, Doug McAvoy.

The extra funding would be a welcome relief for teachers who were having to collect crisp packets to buy books, said the leader of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers.

"It is also a national embarrassment that vast amounts of crisps have been consumed in order to get books into schools. It is humiliating that teachers have to buy books for their pupils out of their own pocket," said general secretary, Peter Smith.

"We are very pleased that the Government has at last decided to give money for resources straight to schools."

David Triesman, general secretary of the Association of University Teachers said that whlie the Budget had benefited schools, "the picture for higher education is uncertain".

"The chancellor today has clearly indicated he is willing to open the public purse. This follows years of fiscal restraint. All eyes in higher education, and the thousands of extra students hoping to go to college or university, will be set on the spending review in July," said Mr Triesman.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
Union leader John Dunford
"This perhaps points the way to a new funding method."
Head teacher Phil Grice
"A drop in the ocean but a bigger drop."
See also:

01 Feb 00 | Teachers Pay
11 Mar 00 | Unions 2000
14 Nov 99 | UK Education
13 Dec 99 | UK Education
17 Dec 99 | UK Education
22 Nov 99 | UK Education
25 Nov 99 | UK Education
29 Dec 99 | UK Education
Links to more Budget2000 stories are at the foot of the page.


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