In the news: £400 million ‘in-year bonus’ for schools promised

29 October 2018

The one-off fund was announced by the Chancellor in today’s autumn budget statement. There are also a few more planned funds you should be aware of.


What’s happened?

The Chancellor Philip Hammond has announced a £400 million one-off bonus to English schools.

It will amount to an average payout of £10,000 per primary school and £50,000 per secondary school.

The money is for school equipment and facilities, according to the budget document.

What else do we know?

There’s been no details released yet about how this fund will be allocated, including exactly how much your school will get or when you’ll get it.

Were there any other announcements that will affect schools?

Other related announcements include:

  • A prioritisation of mental health services for children and young people, including school-based mental health support teams and specialist crisis teams for young people
  • Plans to provide more funding in the 2019/20 financial year to cover the costs of the increase in employer contributions to teachers’ pensions
  • £200 million to pilot innovative approaches to deploying full fibre internet in rural locations, starting with primary schools – the first wave will include the Borderlands, Cornwall and the Welsh Valleys 
  • A £1.7 million fund for education programmes in schools to mark the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp
  • £1 million to be made available for First World War battlefield visits for school students
  • A £10 million regional trial to test how to improve retention of early career maths and physics teachers

 

What has been the reaction from the sector?

Unions have reacted negatively to the announcement of the £400 million fund:

  • ASCL commented that while any increased investment is welcome, the bonus “hardly scratches the surface” of funding issues and what is needed instead is improved core funding for schools
  • NAHT said the Chancellor will have “infuriated” school leaders, saying the school funding crisis is too deep to be solved by a one-off fund
  • NEU said that a fund for “little extras” will do nothing to address shortfalls in funding and that school staff will be “dismayed”
  • NASUWT said that a “modest one-off capital payment” will not help schools continue to meet increasingly complex needs and ensure pupils have the resources they need to learn

Angela Rayner, the Shadow Education Secretary, has said in a press release that the announcement is “utterly insulting” and the fund does not make up for cuts to capital funding year on year.

A focus for criticism for all these groups has been the description of the fund as something to help schools “buy the little extras they need”, with the term regarded as ‘patronising’ on social media according to Schoolsweek.

In response, the Chancellor has told the BBC that he hoped the bonus would be welcome and insisted that this fund is separate to long-term schools funding, which would be addressed in a spending review next year.

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