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Chancellor Phillip Hammond announced the government’s Autumn Budget, saying it is investing “record amounts” in schools.
The Chancellor pledged more cash to pay for “little extras” – a choice of language which was deemed “patronising” by critics who said it was too little, too late. The amount added to the schools spending will be the same as pledged to fix potholes.
As teaching unions called for more funding to end the school cuts crisis, and the Prime Minster telling the country that “austerity is over”, our editor Victoria Galligan takes a look at how the budget will affect education in 2019//20.
Mr Hammond announced: “We’re investing record amounts in our schools and that investment is paying off with 86% of schools now rated good or outstanding, compared to 68% in 2010.
“But I recognise that school budgets often do not stretch to that extra bit of kit that would make such a difference.”
So he announced:
• the £400m in-year bonus which will average £10,000 per primary and £50,000 per secondary.
• a £1.7 million pot for educational programmes in schools to mark the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Bergen-Belsen concentration camps
• £300m for a schools projects in Northern Ireland to increase the provision of shared and integrated cross community education.
Paul Whiteman, general secretary of school leaders’ union NAHT, said: “The Chancellor’s remarks in the Budget will have infuriated school leaders and families. On one hand, he has acknowledged that school budgets are under pressure, and that hard-working families have shouldered the biggest burden of austerity. But on the other, he has failed to find any new money to restore the £2.8bn of real terms cuts made since 2015 and done nothing to alleviate that pressure.
“The government accepts that schools are expected to do more. They also acknowledge these new demands cost more money than before. They also cannot have failed to notice the steady procession of school leaders, governors, parents and others campaigning for more money for schools. It is therefore utterly inexplicable that there was no new money for schools in this budget.
“Instead, the best news for schools was a £400m one off fund for next year to help schools ‘buy the little extras’ that they may need. The school funding crisis is far too deep to be solved in this way. The average payment to a primary school will be £10,000 but primary schools have seen their budgets cut by an average of £45,000 since 2015. In secondary, the cuts have been even more dramatic.
“The government is spending about the same on pupils as it is spending on potholes (£420m) and half what it proposes to spend on defence (£1bn). Schools and young people are most definitely much too far down the government’s list of priorities, and for schools and young people, austerity is most certainly not over.”
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