Page last updated at 15:23 GMT, Monday, 18 October 2010 16:23 UK

Gove pledges to increase school spending

Education Secretary Michael Gove has told MPs that real terms school spending will increase over the Spending Review period, pledging to "spend more on those who need more".

On 18 October 2010, Mr Gove responded to an urgent question from shadow education secretary Andy Burnham on the government's £7bn "fairness premium" package, announced last week by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg.

"This money will be invested in accelerating social mobility," he told MPs.

The package announced by Mr Clegg will include 15 hours a week of free nursery education for the poorest two-year-olds, at a cost of £300 million a year by 2014/15, and a "pupil premium" with funds handed to schools to help pupils eligible for free school meals - a measure of poverty - which will eventually be worth £2.5bn per year.

A "student premium" to help the poorest teenagers to go to university will also be set up, at a cost of at least £150m per year by the end of the Spending Review period.

Mr Burnham called for an assurance that there would not be "disproportionate cuts" to any other part of the department's budget.

But Mr Gove said that the government had "inherited a two-tier school system with the biggest educational divide between the rich and the poor of any developed nation".

He said just 45 pupils on free school meals got to Oxford or Cambridge each year - "as many children as one top public school - St Paul's School for Girls".

He added: "That lack of opportunity is indeed a scandal, an affront to the nation's conscience.

"And thanks to the decisions taken by this coalition government the policies are now at last in place to give every child a fairer chance."

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