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Chancellor pledges £400m for 'extra kit' for schools

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Schools in England are to receive a one-off £400m to buy “extra kit”, the Chancellor, Philip Hammond, has announced in his Budget.

The money is worth, on average, £10,000 per primary school and £50,000 per secondary school.

The announcement comes as head teachers in England have been campaigning for better funding for schools, saying their budgets have been squeezed.

Unions said Mr Hammond’s announcement would “infuriate” head teachers.

Responding to the chancellor’s £400m one-off cash injection, Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said: “While we welcome any increased investment in schools, the £400m ‘bonus’ announced today hardly scratches the surface of what is needed.

“The chancellor’s comment that this money will help schools to ‘buy the little extras they need’ shows a complete misunderstanding of the prevailing funding pressures.

“Many schools don’t have enough money to provide a full curriculum or individual support to pupils, let alone provide ‘little extras’. What they desperately need is improved core funding.

“It is a sign of the government’s priorities that it is spending more on fixing potholes than on fixing the school funding crisis.”

School leaders’ union NAHT said: “This is a Budget that will infuriate school leaders. Schools and young people are most definitely much too far down the government’s list of priorities.

“There’s more money for potholes than for pupils. For schools and young people, austerity is most certainly not over.”

Schools say their budgets have been squeezed by unfunded pay rises, national insurance payments, other cost pressures and rising pupil numbers.

Holocaust education

Mr Hammond also announced that he would give £1.7m for educational programmes in schools to mark the 75th anniversary of the liberation of concentration camps.

Phil Lyons, chief executive of the National Holocaust Centre, said: “We are very pleased that the Treasury has committed additional funds to Holocaust education.

“The tragic events of the weekend (when 11 people were shot dead in a synagogue in the US) show just how important it is that we keep talking and teaching about the Holocaust.

“We are privileged to work with survivors of the Holocaust who, in sharing their experiences, enable young people to be challenged by the consequences of hate and the enormity of genocide.

“This is more vital than ever as we see an increase in anti-semitism and hate crimes.”

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