As expected the budget included details of the increase in funding for the NHS. Included in this increase is £2 billion a year for mental health spending, an area that has already been highlighted as in dire need of additional funding. The Department for Education’s Children’s Mental Health Green Paper was published at the end of 2017, and the Joint Health and Education Select Committee Report on the paper, which was highly critical was published in May (see our news item on it in our May round-up).
Schools are currently struggling with per pupil budget cuts of 8%. In his budget speech Hammond announced funding of approximately £10,000 per primary and £50,000 per secondary school for ‘little extras’. This phrasing has been much derided across the press and the education sector. Read the Schools Week, Guardian and TES pieces on the reactions.
Festival of Innovation and Creativity
The budget also restated the government’s commitment to a Festival of Innovation and Creativity, with £120 million investment, which ‘will deliver an exciting programme of events on arts, culture, design and tech across the country, and will help attract new inward investment.’ and a commitment of £8.5 million investment for Coventry as it hosts the UK City of Culture in 2021. The funding will support Belgrade Theatre to refurbish the auditorium, establish a new creative talent hub and create a centre for music education and concerts.
Of interest to cultural organisations who collect donations was an increase in the individual donation limit to £30. This means small donations under £30 do not need to be accompanied by a Gift Aid declaration to claim Gift Aid for them.
Department for Education £18 million funding for Early Years Home Learning projects
On 18 November Damian Hinds, the Secretary of State for Education, announced £18m towards projects that support families to nurture their children’s early development at home. The money will fund training for health visitors, apps and games and tips for parents to make every day activities an opportunity for learning.
‘Many of today’s new projects will go to voluntary and community groups to improve early language, literacy and communication skills, building on the free childcare offers already available to three and four-year-olds and the most deprived two-year-olds in England.’
The Department for Education (DfE) has also confirmed that a £20m programme of training for Early Years staff in disadvantaged areas will support children’s early language, literacy and numeracy skills, benefitting up to 60,000 pre-school age children.
Read the full details on the DfE website.