Increased taxation on beer and wine was welcomed by a Midland headteacher working with some of the region’s most deprived communities.
David Wootton, executive principal of the Grace Academy – a new school that opened in 2006 sponsored by evangelical Christian businessman Bob Edmiston in north Solihull – said it could help tackle anti-social behaviour.
Police and politicians have raised concern over a growth in harmful alcohol consumption among children at an increasingly young age in recent years.
Health officials also warn of a medical timebomb caused by binge-drinking youngsters fuelled by easy access to cheap drink. Chancellor Alistair Darling announced an increase of 4p on beer and 14p on a bottle of wine.
Mr Wootton said: "If we are working to create a more settled and fair society, tackling binge drinking by putting the price of alcohol up is supporting communities by tackling anti-social behaviour.
"Drinking is not something that comes into schools. We don’t see it, but we see the impact out in our community. The impact of anti-social behaviour and binge-drinking is something that dislocates communities and that doesn’t help anyone’s learning."
Mr Wootton is currently involved in the creation of a second academy, also sponsored by Mr Edmiston, set to open in Coventry next year. Like the one in north Solihull’s Chelmsley Wood, it will also model its ethos on Christian values and standards, though Mr Wootton stresses they are not faith schools.
The academies are at the forefront of Government drives to tackle under-achievement by putting failing schools under new management backed by sponsors who donate £2 million towards the new school.
Ministers believe they are a vehicle for raising attainment in the most challenging and deprived communities. In his Budget, Mr Darling underlined the Government’s commitment to creating more academies and trust schools – similar to academies but without involving a new building or fee-paying sponsor.
Mr Wootton said the Budget’s emphasis on eradicating child poverty would be welcomed by teachers.
"Anybody who has anything to do with children has got to see a commitment to eradicating child poverty as a good move by any Government.
"Schools that are working in areas that are in social need are going to be very pleased to see anything that is going to tackle child poverty.
"When you look at the statistics social background is one of the chief drivers of educational outcomes. So if you can lift more children out of poverty then the likelihood is their education outcomes will rise."
Mr Darling brought forward by a year the deadline by which no school should have fewer than the new benchmark of 30 per cent of pupils achieving five GCSEs graded A* to C including English and maths.
The new date is now 2011 instead of 2012. Currently, about a third of schools in Birmingham do not meet the target and many more across the region also failed to meet it in last year’s GCSE results.
Grace Academy was one of the schools that failed to make the grade, but is hoping to this year. Mr Wootton said the get-tough approach on numeracy and literacy was the right thing to do. Functional English and functional maths skills are the first thing that employers want. We have to be turning out youngsters who are literate and numerate and therefore much more employable."
Mr Darling also announced £10 million over five years to improve science teaching, bringing the total up to £30 million towards an "Enthuse Science" fund.
Mr Wootton said there was an problem within education finding good maths and science teachers that needed to be tackled.
"It is difficult to recruit teachers in subjects like science and maths. Being able to enthuse youngsters in science is important if we are to continue to keep the kind of reputation we have in the UK in terms of innovation and scientific development."
Mr Wootton said schools could always do with extra cash to improve learning outcomes for youngsters.
However, he added: "Given the context of this Budget and where we are in the economic cycle I think it was fair."
Mr Darling also said there would be an extra £60 million over the next three years to provide new opportunities for people to gain the skills needed to enter the labour market, remain in work and progress in work.