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Budget 2001 Wednesday, 7 March, 2001, 18:17 GMT
1bn extra for schools
Schools across the UK are to receive an extra 1bn over the next three years, the Chancellor, Gordon Brown, announced in the Budget.

And there will be extra financial incentives in England to tackle the teacher shortage - with bonuses of between 2,000 and 4,000 to encourage former teachers back into the classroom.

Budget 2001
1bn extra over three years for UK schools
837m for England
Teacher recruitment bonuses: 2,000 to 4,000
Large secondary school direct grant: 115,000
Large primary school direct grant: 63,000
320,000 places in modern apprenticeships

The spending plans, which are in addition to 12bn announced last year, will include 300m for schools, 300m for capital spending and 200m for teacher recruitment in England - all for the next three years.

Details of the breakdown in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales are to be announced later.

As previously announced, schools in England are to receive extra direct grants from April - by-passing local education authorities - which will provide funds for both running costs and building work.

The chancellor said larger secondary schools would now receive direct grants of 115,000 a year, rather than the previously announced 92,000 - in addition to their standard funding through local authorities.

And a large primary school would be given 63,000 in direct grants each year rather than the 50,000 previously announced.

Click here for details.

The Education Secretary, David Blunkett, said these direct payments would be particularly welcomed by head teachers, who could put the money to "up-to-date computers and well-maintained buildings".

"The additional cash for direct grants will be extremely welcome... In the coming year it will mean that heads have the freedom to target standards for 11-14 year olds, recruit extra staff, and provide time for teachers to plan and prepare."

Shortage subjects

The new recruitment bonuses are intended to encourage the return of teachers who have recently retired or who have left the profession to have a family.

Gordon Brown
Gordon Brown wants to deliver a "knowledge economy"
The details are to be announced on Monday by the Mr Blunkett.

But government sources have indicated that there will be a bonus of 2,000 for people returning to teaching, perhaps after having raised a family.

This will rise to 4,000 for those returning to the secondary school shortage subjects such as maths, science and modern languages.

It is thought likely the bonuses will be paid in stages - part on return and the rest after a year back in teaching.

Applications rise

Last week, the government said it was writing to 25,000 recently-retired teachers, inviting them to return to teaching, with the incentive that they could work for two terms without affecting their pensions.

This is intended to fill vacancies immediately, using already qualified teachers, while it seeks to provide a longer-term solution to shortages by recruiting more student teachers.

Figures published earlier on Wednesday showed a rise of 19% in applications to teacher training courses in England and Wales on the same period a year ago.

But the proposals for incentives for returners drew only muted applause from the biggest teachers' union, the National Union of Teachers and hostility from the second biggest, the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers.

Nigel de Gruchy, general secretary of the NASUWT, accused the government's recruitment policy of "stumbling from one short-term piecemeal measure to another to bribe people back into schools".

And the Liberal Democrats' education spokesman, Phil Willis, said that the spending announcements were too little and too late.

"Despite their promise in 1997, Labour has managed to spend less of the nation's wealth on education than even John Major's last government," he said.

Mr Brown said financial prudence had allowed the government to raise revenue for priorities such as education - and this would mean that in 2001-2002 there will be 10bn more spent on schools than on debt repayment.

In order to match skills to the needs of employers, the chancellor said that the modern apprenticeship scheme would rise in forthcoming years to 320,000 places, at a cost of 1bn.

The table below shows the money head teachers will be getting from April to spend as they wish - aside from the increase in capital funding:

Direct grants to schools in England,
Pupils Extra Total
Up to 100 1,000 7,000
101 - 200 1,500 13,500
201 400 4,000 24,000
401 600 5,000 30,000
601+ 8,000 48,000
Up to 600 8,000 58,000
601 - 1200 10,000 70,000
1200+ 12,000 82,000
Up to 100 2,000 20,000
101+ 3,000 28,000
Source: Department for Education

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07 Mar 01 | N Ireland
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