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Autumn Budget 2017 for Academies

Posted by Pam Tuckett on November 27, 2017

Autumn Budget 2017 for Academies

The Chancellor’s Budget on 22 November 2017 contained little to cheer about for academies. With the exception of new money for maths and science, there was little to ease the effects of seven years’ of cuts.

The Budget offered nothing to improve the funding formula to help schools pay their running costs or building improvements. And with a further increase in the National Living Wage announced from April 2018, schools will be operating on even tighter margins without extra funds for teachers’ salaries.

Maths and science

Specific funding is being provided to:

  • expand the Teaching for Mastery maths programme into a further 3,000 schools (£27 million);
  • give schools and colleges £600 for every extra pupil who decides to take Maths or Further Maths A levels or Core Maths – with over £80 million available initially, and no cap on numbers;
  • fund an annual £350,000 for every maths school under the specialist maths school model, which includes outreach work (£18 million), though it is not clear yet on eligibility for this;
  • test innovative approaches to improve GCSE Maths resit outcomes by launching a £8.5 million pilot, alongside £40 million to establish Further Education Centres of Excellence across the country to train maths teachers and spread best practice;
  • to ensure every secondary school has a fully qualified computer science GCSE teacher, by committing £84 million to upskill 8,000 computer science teachers by 2022. A new National Centre for Computing will produce training material and support schools.

There are many questions unanswered by these announcements as very little detail has so far been published.

Maths premium

As mentioned above, there is a premium of £600 for every “extra” pupil who takes maths or further maths at A-level or core maths. So if a school increases its numbers studying maths A-level from 50 in one year to 55 in the next, it will receive an extra £3,000.

But it is not yet clear which year will be taken as the base year to compute the increase, or how the government will be sure that the extra pupils actually complete their training. It is also unclear whether any unspent cash will be carried forward for use into later years.

Concerns have already been raised that schools may push pupils into maths, even where it is not right for them. The scheme could also be unfair on schools that have already increased their maths pupil numbers.

T levels

Following the announcement in the 2017 Spring Budget of T levels, the government says it will invest up to £20 million to help teachers prepare for them.

Teacher Development Premium

The government says it will invest £42 million to pilot a Teacher Development Premium. This will test the impact of a £1,000 budget for high-quality professional development for teachers working in deprived areas.

It is not yet known how the government will select schools for the pilot.

The funding comes on top of £75 million already allocated for development in the government’s 12 social mobility “opportunity areas” through the Teaching and Leadership Innovation Fund.

If you would like to discuss the implications of the Budget announcements, then please contact a member of our Academies team.