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Education resellers get Budget boost

A £400m bonus for schools is going to spent by some on improving the technology they use in the classroom

Educational resellers could be set for a second summer with schools being given extra cash in the Budget to spend on 'little extras' that they need.

The majority of schools use the summer break to roll out IT upgrades but the government is making this cash available now as part of its spending commitments in the current financial year.

The Chancellor Philip Hammond outlined plans to provide schools with a £400m bonus payment, a one off capital payment, that equates to on average £10,000 per primary school and £50,000 each secondary school.

"I recognise that school budgets often do not stretch to that extra bit of kit that would make such a difference," he added " I am announcing a £400m in-year bonus to help our schools buy the little extras they need."

Speaking on Radio 4’s Today programme this morning the Chancellor provided a bit more detail about how he expected schools to spend the money and said that he had been thinking of tech when he made the announcement about school funding.

He said that he expected schools to use the windfall to pay for items like whiteboards and laptops, rather than for extra staff.

There were plenty of criticisms of the plans, with many pointing out that more funding was given to fixing potholes than helping cash-strapped schools. Local Highway Authorities are being given £420m to get the roads in better shape in what's left of this financial year.

"Potholes over pupils – As noted by Labour’s shadow foreign secretary, it was deeply disappointing to see potholes allocated greater funds than pupils in yesterday’s announcements. While we shouldn’t deny the importance of road safety, there’ll certainly be a bumpy road ahead for UK schools as long as the Chancellor dismisses underfunding," said Fernando Hernandez, managing director for Europe, XYZprinting.

"Hammond referred to the £400m one of payment as being enough for schools to “buy the little extras they need”. However, this woefully underplays the real needs of pupils. 75 per cent of teachers are uncomfortable delivering the computing curriculum as it stands. This can only be resolved by increasing training," she added.

"However, with the cost of removing a teacher from the classroom at £600 a day, this will be unaffordable under the new budget. Especially when we consider the additional cost of introducing technological equipment, such as computers, 3D printers and laser cutters, which facilitate the development of skills transferrable from the classroom to the workplace," he concluded.

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