BORIS Johnson has planned a £3.5billion schools splurge including a pay boost for teachers to £30k-a-year.
The basic-wage boost will be put in place by 2022 while the government works on a number of other educational measures including teachers being able to use “reasonable force”.
Primary and secondary schools will receive an additional £2.8bn, while facilities for children with special educational needs and disabilities will get £800m.
The details for an extra £800m for sixth form and further education colleges are still under discussion with the Treasury, it is believed.
Boris’ schools splurge is party of a mammoth policy blitz undertaken by the government – as he gears up to fight a possible general election – with spending announced on the NHS, prisons and Police.
The PM has vowed to spend £1.8bn on the health service with 20 hospitals earmarked for funding, he has also pledged to spend £100m on upgrading security at jails as well as hiring 20,000 cops in three years costing £1bn.
But while the schools funding boost is sure to be welcomed by teachers and parents alike – a raft of controversial elements of the Tories’ plan could raise eyebrows.
Among them are teaching assistants being cut and measures to tackle naughty kids, including confiscating mobile phones.
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The measures were seen in a government briefing document marked “official-sensitive” by the Guardian.
Confiscating mobile phones, same-day detentions and even the use of reasonable force were measures said to be outlined in the briefing note, with headteachers to be given further powers when it comes to suspending and expelling disruptive children and youths.
Cuts to support staff could also be forthcoming, with the number of teaching assistants set to be reduced if the details of the report are correct.
Further free schools could also be rolled out, along with a fresh push to convert local authority grant-maintained schools to academies.
The DfE said it did not recognise the “figures” reported by the Guardian and said priorities for the new Secretary of State, Gavin Williamson, would be announced “in due course”.
According to the report, the DfE paper includes a major focus on poor behaviour in schools.
“This government backs headteachers to improve behaviour and will support them to create safe and disciplined school environments,” the document is said to state.
“We will back heads to use powers to promote good behaviour including sanctions and rewards; using reasonable force; to search and confiscate items from pupils (including mobile phones); impose same-day detentions; suspend and expel pupils; ban mobile phones.”
We will back heads to use powers to promote good behaviour including sanctions and rewards; using reasonable force; to search and confiscate items from pupils
Department for Education report
Last year, the Institute for Fiscal Studies estimated per-pupil funding had been cut by 4% in real terms since 2015, after a freeze was imposed by the Government. It estimated returning school funding to 2015 levels would require nearly £2bn.
The leaked paper was also said to contain evidence that Downing Street and the DfE had calculated that there are too many teaching assistants (TAs) working in the education system.
“No 10 and HMT (the Treasury) have been keen to publicly express concerns about the rising number of TAs and set out Government’s commitment to more effective deployment of TAs being integral to more efficient use of school spend,” it states.
The document, according to the newspaper, advises against going public with the possibility of TA cuts, warning “it would undermine the ‘hearts and minds’ aspect of the announcement with the numerous audiences we know value TAs – parents, teachers, heads and (the) SEND lobby”.
“This needs to be handled very sensitively if we are to protect the positivity of the announcement,” the leaked note says.
Shadow education secretary Angela Rayner called the alleged details of the briefing “concerning”.
She said: “It is concerning that this leaked document shows senior Tories casting doubt on the value of teaching assistants and suggesting that more cuts are on the way, despite the vital work they do, such as supporting children with special education needs.”
A DfE spokeswoman said: “We do not comment on leaks. We will announce further information on our domestic priorities in due course.”
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