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Last Updated: Thursday, 23 March 2006, 10:44 GMT
Education Budget in more detail
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It is the aspiration to increase the resources allocated to state school pupils to private school levels which has grabbed most attention.

But the Budget as it affected England also offered new money for further education, young vulnerable people, women with low skills and higher education partnerships, among other things.

Skills gap

For the first time, there will be free entitlement for anyone up to the age of 25 to gain A-level qualifications or their equivalent - so that those who want a "second chance" at gaining qualifications are not penalised.

This would tackle the Level 3 "skills gap" which the government is concerned about.

The Association of Colleges chief executive, Dr John Brennan, called this "great news", as colleges had long been concerned about the charges for those over 19.

But he questioned where the money would come from.

There would be an extra 40m available to help women with low skills get qualifications and careers advice to help them into better jobs.

And the Adult Learning Grant, which provides maintenance payments to adult learners on low incomes will be rolled out one year early, in 2007-08.

Young people

There will be an extra 2m available for the Youth Opportunities Challenge Fund, and 3m to help young people participate in media-related projects such as community radio.

This extra money was welcomed by the YMCA, which said young people tended to thrive when they took part in such projects.

Kevin Williams, its national secretary, said he had "never seen a budget so committed and outspoken in putting young people at its centre".

"We now need to pin down how and when all this money will be invested in youth services so it is a concrete fact rather than a vague promise," he said.

"Young people have been the poor relations for too long. This money will give them a new power and a new voice."

Personalised learning

The government says it is stepping up its allocation to deliver personalised learning for every child, but especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Schools will receive a total of 930m by 2007-08 to be used for tailored support for children.

The aim was welcomed by the general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, Dr John Dunford.

"This is very good news for schools and will help us to deliver the government's very challenging personalisation agenda," he said.

"Additional funding is essential for both urban and rural areas if schools are to be able to give adequate help to pupils who need it most."


The Chancellor also allocated 10m over the next two years so that teenagers from poor homes benefiting from a home computer scheme he announced last year would also have interent access.

Also over two years, 4m goes towards building higher education partnerships with India, Russia and South Africa.

This is part of a general government effort to encourage greater education links at all levels.

School 'Olympics'

There were various announcements aimed at boosting the UK effort for the 2012 Olympics in London.

Among these, Glasgow will later this year host the first "school Olympics".

This will be an annual event taking place in a different city each year in the run-up to the main Olympics.

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