£50m for grammar schools confirmed in Autumn Statement

Chancellor of the Exchequer Phillip Hammond has officially announced additional investment support the expansion of grammar schools.

£50 million of new capital was included in the Autumns Statement and will be available to help existing grammar schools expand from 2017-18.

Beyond this dedicated capital for grammar schools, no additional funding was announced to support schools, which has led to criticism from education unions.

Russell Hobby, general sectary of the National Association of Head Teachers, has said that the Autumns Statement ‘does nothing for schools’ and expressed his disappointment that the government has not used the opportunity to invest more in education.

He said: “We know that school budgets are being pushed beyond breaking point. Almost nine out of ten school leaders are telling us that a rise in national insurance employer contributions and pension contributions are the key reasons behind financial pressures in their school. Freezing budgets at a time of rising costs is no protection at all. The government has the levers to address rising costs, but has again failed to pull them. In fact, with the new apprenticeship levy it is taking yet more money out of schools.

“Social mobility has rightly become a focus for the government. And yet, without investment in what works - quality early years education, high quality teachers and the right funding delivered directly to schools - it is hard to see how the rhetoric can match the reality. Capital investment in grammar schools is the wrong priority, and a distraction from the most important issues in education.”

Malcombe Trobe, interim general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, was also highly critical, saying the the Autumn Statement has failed to address the education funding crisis.

He said: “It is disappointing that the Autumn Statement failed to address the severe funding pressures in schools and colleges. The situation is so serious that some are struggling to deliver a full curriculum, courses are having to be cut and some sixth forms are closing. Education is arguably the single most important investment we can make. It provides the country’s intellectual infrastructure; the knowledge and skills which will enable us to remain competitive in a global market.”

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