The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, presented his Budget 2018 speech to Parliament on 29 October. In the speech, Mr Hammond set out his spending plans for the next year and said that “the era of austerity is finally coming to an end”.
This article breaks down the funding announced for schools, alongside other initiatives that will affect schools and pupils.
£400 million for the “little extras”
Mr Hammond said he recognised “that school budgets often do not stretch to that extra bit of kit that would make such a difference”.
The Budget allocated a £400 million in-year bonus for schools’ equipment and maintenance, which Mr Hammond said would help schools “buy the little extras they need”. This will be a one-off capital payment made directly to schools and will average around £10,000 per primary school and £50,000 per secondary.
NHS funding – more money for mental health support
During his speech, Mr Hammond said that there were “many pressing demands on additional NHS funding”, but that there were few “more pressing than the need of those who suffer from mental illness”.
Funding for mental health services will grow as a share of the overall NHS budget over the next five years. Overall, the NHS will increase mental health spending by more than £2 billion a year by 2023/2024. The NHS will invest up to £250 million a year by 2023/2024 into a new mental health crisis service, which will include providing mental health support in every major A&E, children and young people’s crisis teams in every part of the country and a 24-hour mental health hotline.
Services for children and young people will be prioritised – this includes a commitment to providing schools-based mental health support teams and specialist crisis teams for young people across the country.
The end of private finance initiative (PFI) contracts
PFI, and its successor PF2, were described as “inflexible and overly complex” – the government is abolishing the use of these models for future projects, including schools.
PFI-funded building work for 277 schools, which was signed off before 2016, will still go ahead as planned. Existing PFI contracts will be honoured, meaning any schools already built under PFI will not be affected.
The government will establish a centre of best practice in the Department of Health and Social Care to actively manage these contracts – it is not known whether schools will be able to access any support in relation to this.
Apprenticeships and T-levels
Mr Hammond set out a package of reforms aiming to strengthen the role of employers in the apprenticeship programme. These measures include the following:
- From April 2019, large businesses will be able to invest up to 25 percent of their apprenticeship levy to support apprentices in their supply chain.
- Up to £240 million will be provided to halve the co-investment rate for apprenticeship training to 5 percent for some employers.
- £5 million will be given to the Institute for Apprenticeships and National Apprenticeship Service in 2019/2020 – this will be used to identify gaps in the training provider market and increase the number of employer-designed apprenticeship standards available to employers.
- The government will work with a range of employers and providers to consider how they are responding to the apprenticeship levy across different sectors and regions.
Additional funding was also announced for T-levels – £38 million of capital funding will be used to support the implementation of the first three T-levels in 2020 across 52 providers.
Maths and physics teacher retention
£10 million will be provided to fund regional trials to test how to improve retention of early career maths and physics teachers.
This announcement was not made during Mr Hammond’s speech, but is included in the full Budget documentation.
WW1 battlefield visits and Holocaust commemoration in schools
Funding has been allocated to support the commemoration of the First World War and the Holocaust in schools.
To mark the centenary of the end of the First World War, the government will make an additional £1 million available for WW1 battlefield visits for pupils. £1.7 million will be provided to a charitable organisation to run educational projects in schools to mark the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Bergen-Belsen concentration camps.
Fibre broadband in primary schools
The Budget allocated £200 million to a project to pilot “innovative approaches to deploying full fibre internet in rural locations” – this will start with primary schools.
The first wave will include schools in the Borderlands, Cornwall and the Welsh Valleys.
HM Treasury (2018) ‘Budget 2018’ <https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/budget-2018-documents/budget-2018> [Accessed: 30 October 2018]
HM Treasury (2018) ‘Budget 2018: 24 things you need to know’ <https://www.gov.uk/government/news/budget-2018-24-things-you-need-to-know> [Accessed: 30 October 2018]
HM Treasury (2018) ‘Budget 2018: Philip Hammond’s speech’ <https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/budget-2018-philip-hammonds-speech> [Accessed: 30 October 2018]
Whittaker, F. (2018) ‘Budget 2018: What’s in it for schools?’ <https://schoolsweek.co.uk/budget-2018-whats-in-it-for-schools/> [Accessed: 30 October 2018]