Schools 'face austere future'

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The Independent Online

A warning that state schools must brace themselves for years of austerity is due to be delivered by the Commons Select Committee on Children, Schools and Families today.

The Government's school-building programme may have to be curtailed with private firms unlikely to sign up for it because of the economic recession, the committee will say. Its report adds that spending on nursery, primary and secondary schools has declined as a portion of the education budget while cash earmarked for capital building projects and student support in colleges and universities has grown.

"Those in charge of schools and children's services more widely need to be planning now for ways of coping with a much more austere future," the report concludes.

"The concern... is that these serious economic problems could undermine investment in education and related services." The school-building programme is a key plank in Gordon Brown's plans to boost employment during the recession.