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New government funding for schools and colleges is ‘drop in the ocean’, headteachers say

'This does nothing to address the shortage of funding in our schools and colleges'

Eleanor Busby
Education Correspondent
Tuesday 02 October 2018 14:31 BST
Hundreds of headteachers march on Westminster over school funding ‘crisis

New government funding for a series of initiatives to boost technical education and teacher training opportunities has been criticised by headteachers as being a mere “drop in the ocean”.

Schools and colleges are set to receive £119m in funding for projects spread over several years, the education secretary Damian Hinds has revealed today at the Conservative Party Conference.

But the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) says it will do nothing to address the funding crisis – which saw thousands of headteachers march on Westminster last week.

Mr Hinds said that £66m will be split between 53 schools and colleges over five years, which will share their expertise in teaching maths and English with other teachers to improve literacy and numeracy.

A further £10m will be invested over two years to improve teacher training on behaviour in schools, update government guidance on behaviour, and to support schools to share their knowledge.

Speaking in Birmingham, the minister also announced that £38m would be spent on new equipment and facilities for colleges offering the government’s flagship technical T-level qualifications.

And an additional £5m will be invested to more than double the number of trained ‘Career Leaders' in schools, to increase work experience and school visits from employers.

But Geoff Barton, general secretary of ASCL, said: “It is disappointing that the small pots of money announced by the education secretary are a drop in the ocean compared to the funding that is so desperately needed to give all our young people the best possible education.

“Just a few days after 2,000 headteachers protested in London over the school funding crisis, the government’s response is to make a modest investment in specific initiatives, spread very thinly over several years.”

He added: “These announcements do nothing to address the shortage of funding in our schools and colleges which has resulted in cuts to the curriculum and individual support for students.

“The money announced today needs to be part of a sustained long-term investment in education rather than a one-off soundbite.”

It has also been revealed that the Department for Education will be convening a meeting of the Premier League, England Netball and the Rugby Football Union to form a plan to encourage schools to offer more competitive sport.

Speaking at the Conservative Party Conference on Tuesday. Mr Hinds said: "Look at what has been achieved in education since 2010 - back in the world top 10 for primary school reading, with reformed curriculum and qualifications, thousands of schools given freedom as an academy, 1.9 million more children in good or outstanding schools.

"This is a record to be proud of, but it's not yet enough to be satisfied with. Our ambition is simply said but truly stretching: a world class education for everyone, whatever path you take, whatever your background.

"We will not rest until results in all parts of our country are as good as they are now in the best, opportunity is equally available to all of our society and all routes, whether academic or technical, are of equal standing."

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