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Wednesday, 8 November, 2000, 16:41 GMT
Windfall for schools
Gordon Brown
Gordon Brown has provided a winter windfall for schools
Schools are to receive windfalls of up to 30,000, the Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown has announced.

The chancellor, presenting his pre-Budget report to the House of Commons on Wednesday, announced that schools would receive 200m for classroom repairs and upgrading premises.

Pre-Budget Report
200m direct funding for schools
4,000 to 7,000 for primary schools
10,000 to 30,000 for secondary schools
5m for laptop access project
Extra funds for Learning and Skills Council to be announced Thursday

Primary schools will receive between 4,000 and 7,000, depending on the number of pupils. And secondary schools will receive between 10,000 and 30,000.

"Lower unemployment means we can allocate new money to every school of every constituency in the country," said the chancellor, announcing that schools would benefit from an underspend in the "new deal" budget.

The extra funding will be delivered directly to head teachers, following similar payments announced by the chancellor in previous Budgets and the comprehensive spending review earlier this year.


This will make one hell of a difference ... It will certainly go a long way to reducing the backlog of repairs and maintenance that has built up over the last decade

David Hart, National Association of Head Teachers

The pre-Budget report announcement will mean that a typical secondary school will have received 36,000 in direct capital spending grants this year - with 12,000 for a typical primary school.

Direct funding has been welcomed by head teachers who say it allows them greater flexibility than money distributed through local education authorities.

Schools have been able to target these direct grants towards specific needs, such as repairing classrooms or buying books and equipment.

'Decent surroundings'

Responding to the announcement, David Hart, leader of the National Association of Head Teachers, said the money would make "one hell of a difference".

"It will certainly go a long way to reducing the backlog of repairs and maintenance that has built up over the last decade.

"It's good news for pupils who deserve to be educated in decent surroundings and good news for teachers who deserve to work in the best possible climate," said Mr Hart.

Among the head teachers who will benefit will be Steve Gater of Ferryhill Comprehensive School in Durham, one of a group of head teachers who wrote to the prime minister this summer warning him of the state of disrepair of many schools.

"It's exactly what schools need," he told BBC News Online, responding to the chancellor's announcement.

'It's a start'

Problems with school premises had been highlighted and now the government was addressing the issue, he said.

"It will start to tackle the problems. We are talking about a 20-year backlog of repairs, so we will certainly need a continuation of funding. But it's giving the right message that schools can start to tackle the problems," he added.

Ferryhill was closed for the day on Wednesday because of transport problems caused by flooding.

But Mr Gater said that in any case the sports hall leaked so much it could not be used for physical education in wet weather.

The chancellor's spending plans also included 5m support for a national "e-Learning Foundation" which will promote access to laptop computers for disadvantaged pupils.


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18 Jul 00 | UK Education
18 Jul 00 | CSR
08 Nov 00 | UK Education
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