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Last Updated: Wednesday, 16 March 2005, 16:05 GMT
Brown extends school rebuilding
school rebuilding work
The Treasury said renewal work would take about 15 years
The chancellor has announced an increase in future spending on renewing more than half of England's primary schools.

Gordon Brown said 8,900 would be rebuilt or refurbished, with an investment of 9.4bn over five years.

Education officials said the new money was 150m for 2008-09, rising by another 350m in 2009-10 to a total of 2.3bn that year.

There is to be an extra 350m to refurbish further education colleges.

The Treasury said the government estimated the additional money would, "over around 15 years, provide for a wide-ranging programme of rebuilding, refurbishing and upgrading covering at least 50% of primary schools in England."

Its detailed report makes clear that this extra money is intended to enable schools to offer additional facilities such as computers after hours, parenting support, adult education and perhaps healthcare, and childcare from 8am to 6pm.

The general secretary of the National Union of Teachers, Steve Sinnott, welcomed the extra money but added: "I hope this optimism is not undermined by double counting and spin.

"The controversies and insecurities of the Private Finance Initiative and academy sponsorship have taken the shine off government achievements in funding the secondary school rebuilding programme.

"I hope that this time, what you see is what you get."

In his Budget, Mr Brown also set out a goal of education starting at age three and continuing until 18.

Those in full-time education or training would be offered up to 75 a week in education allowances and benefits.

And the government was going to pilot "transitional help" for those who had left school to return to education or training.

Extended schools

Direct payments to schools to spend on their own priorities would rise each year to 2008 in England, with separate announcements to follow for other parts of the UK, Mr Brown said.

A typical primary school would get 31,000 in the coming year, rising to 36,000 in 2008, while a typical secondary school would have 98,500 next year, rising to 115,000.

The Treasury said that - as with much of the refurbishment money - this also was "to help schools meet the challenges that provision of extended services involves in the shorter-term".

The government wants schools to offer services from 8am to 6pm, but head teachers have said previously that it was not clear how this would be funded.

The Teach First scheme, which encourages graduates to work in inner city schools, would be extended from London to Manchester next year - as announced already - then to four more cities.

The first two would be Liverpool and Birmingham.

The Education Secretary, Ruth Kelly, said: "This is a defining Budget for education, skills and childcare.

"It will help us build a society where every child has the best start in life, where services are extended and improved throughout schools, where colleges deliver world class vocational education, and where standards are raised through a truly comprehensive education system."

The shadow education secretary, Tim Collins, said: "Parents and teachers want guaranteed funding for their schools with head teachers trusted to spend the money according to local needs.

"Instead the only guarantee they got was a dossier of dodgy figures."

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