Budget 2017: how will it affect schools?

Wednesday, November 22nd, 2017

by John Davies

Money for every extra pupil studying Maths at A-Level

From 2019, each school will receive £600 for every extra pupil that studies maths at A-Level. To be clear, this is not money for each pupil taking maths. This is £600 per each extra pupil above a baseline based on the number of pupils taking the subject this year. The policy applies to both core and further maths.

The announcement, estimated to cost £80 million initially, comes on the back of Sir Adrian Smith’s recommendations for post-16 maths. He said that the DfE should consider “increasing the financial incentives” for maths at A-Level.

Other measures include expanding the Teaching for Mastery maths programme to a further 3,000 schools, £40 million to train new maths teachers, and an invitation for proposals to open new maths schools. “More maths for everyone”, according to the chancellor Phillip Hammond.

The government is keen to demonstrate it understands the need to ensure pupils leave school with the skills deemed vital for the future labour market. It’s important especially in the context of Britain leaving the EU and the possibility that skilled migrants may choose to go elsewhere.

A National Centre for Computing

The government will create a new £100 million National Centre for Computing, which will train an extra 8,000 computer science teachers.

The chancellor said that this will triple the number of trained computer science teachers to 12,000, so that “every secondary school pupil” can learn the subject.

Again, the government wants to show it is planning for post-Brexit Britain and the need for a highly-skilled workforce. The chancellor referred to the “technological revolution” approaching and talked up Britain’s role in leading the way.

Teacher Development Premium

£42 million will be invested to pilot a ‘Teacher Development Premium’, which will test the impact of a £1,000 budget for training for teachers working in “areas that have fallen behind”. The government says that this will help achieve it’s “ambition to address regional productivity disparities through reducing the regional skills gap”.

But no money for teacher pay or school budgets

Teachers hoping for the government to budge on pay will be disappointed. The budget included no lifting of the cap on public sector pay for teachers.

The School Teachers’ Review Body (STRB) has previously said that there is a risk that schools won’t be able to attract high quality teachers because of low starting salaries compared to other graduate professions. And in the run up to the budget, education unions demanded a 5% increase to teacher pay.

While the government has promised to find extra money to fund a pay rise for nurses if the independent pay review body recommends it, no such leeway has been found for education.

Education appeared to lose out to the NHS on overall funding, as well. More money for the NHS, £2.8 billion over 3 years, was promised. It seems the extra £1.3 billion for schools announced earlier in the year is all schools will be getting.

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