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Tuesday, November 9, 1999 Published at 16:27 GMT


Brown wants lessons for entrepreneurs

Gordon Brown announced 50,000 more places on IT courses

"Entrepreneurship" classes are to be encouraged in schools - and there will be extra money for repairing crumbling classrooms, said the Chancellor, Gordon Brown.

Presenting his Pre-Budget report to the House of Commons, the Chancellor called for a society which balanced "enterprise and fairness" - in which the benefits of education would be more widely extended.

The Chancellor announced:

  • £150m additional funds for upgrading school buildings (including £100m private finance initiative credits)
  • £25m to create 50,000 places on information technology courses
  • £12.5m for child-care places in colleges
  • £10m to promote entrepreneurialism in schools

Setting the government's agenda for the next decade, Mr Brown said he wanted "people to gain the highest qualifications they can, with a majority of our school-leavers going on to degrees for the first time in our history".

But in particular he singled out the need for education to play its part in creating a culture of growth, investment and enterprise.

This "spirit of enterprise" is to be encouraged in schools with a £10m package to boost business skills in primary and secondary school, with projects to be set up in partnership with local companies.

Such courses in entrepreneurialism could reach 200,000 pupils, said the Chancellor, announcing £5m to improve links between schools and business, £3m for training teachers and £2m for entreprise projects with a "proven track record of success".

And adults in deprived areas would also benefit from enterprise lessons, with the announcement of "scholarships" in "management skills".

The culture of opportunity would also be promoted by the government's plans to broaden participation in higher and further education, said Mr Brown.

[ image: Francis Maude welcomed extra spending on education - but claimed class sizes were still rising]
Francis Maude welcomed extra spending on education - but claimed class sizes were still rising
Along with the expansion of places already planned by the government, Mr Brown announced £25m for an additional 50,000 places created in information technology courses - "because in the new knowledge economy no one should be left out".

For lone parents, there will be an extra 10,000 child-care places - at a cost of £12.5m - available at colleges so that parents can continue studying and find employment.

Mr Brown also announced an extra £150m for a threefold expansion of the scheme to modernise school buildings and to re-equip them with new technology. The funding is made up of £50m from the windfall levy and £100m in private finance initiative credits.

By 2001, 10,000 schools will be upgraded, in addition to the programme of renovating 5,000 schools already announced. This would benefit a total of five million pupils, Mr Brown told the House of Commons.

The Shadow Chancellor, Francis Maude, said that he welcomed the additional spending on education - but regretted that class sizes were still rising.

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