The impact of this week’s budget on the Education sector – Friday 24 November 2017

This week I report on the impact of this week’s budget on the Education sector, the National Schools Commissioner’s view that schools can join academy trusts as Associate members and the new requirement for schools to give education and training providers the opportunity to talk to pupils in Years 8-13 about technical qualifications and apprenticeships.

Impact of the budget 2017 on the Education sector
In this week’s budget the Chancellor, Philip Hammond, announced a series of measures aimed at getting Britain fit for a science and technology-based future. He said that schools would benefit from:

  • an expansion of the Teaching for Mastery Maths programme to a further 3,000 schools;
  • an additional £40 million to train maths teachers across the country, delivered through new Further Education Centres of Excellence;
  • the introduction of a £600 “maths premium” for schools, for every additional pupil who takes A level or core maths. With more than £80 million available initially there is no cap on numbers, according to the Treasury;
  • an invitation of proposals for new maths schools across England, with £350,000 available for each one set up from a fund of £18 million;
  • an £8.5 million pilot that will test innovative approaches to improve GCSE maths resit outcomes;
  • the trial of a £1,000 teacher development premium for teachers working in “areas that have fallen behind”, with £42 million of initial funding to pay for continuing professional development opportunities;
  • a guarantee that every secondary school pupil can study computing, ensured by trebling the number of trained computer science teachers to 12,000 and the setting up of a new National Centre for Computing;
  • £20 million to support the roll out of the new technical vocational training, or T-levels. T-levels will allow 16 to 19-year-olds to study across 15 sectors in subjects like hair and beauty or construction.

‘Associate member’ option in joining trusts
At a training event held by the Church of England on Wednesday, the national Schools Commissioner, Sir David Carter, said that schools can join academy trusts as “associate members”. Such an arrangement means a school can access shared resources and leadership upon joining an academy trust, without legally transferring into it.

In some cases, the school will pay into the trust’s central funds via a “top-slicing” arrangement, where a fee is taken for each pupil in the school. However, in other cases the membership may be free, especially where the school is able to offer training support to others in the trust. In both instances, the school retains the right to leave the academy trust if the arrangement is unsatisfactory.

“The arrangement could last for something like two years, on the basis that once the time is up school and trust leaders will know if it is the right thing for them and are likely to sign up,” Sir David said.

New technical education provider talks requirement
The DfE has announced that from 2 January 2018, all maintained schools and academies will be required to give education and training providers the opportunity to talk to pupils in years 8-13 about approved technical qualifications and apprenticeships.

Schools must publish a policy statement outlining how providers can access the school, the rules for granting and refusing access and what providers can expect once granted access. Schools must also have “clear arrangements in place” to ensure that all pupils have opportunities to hear from providers of post-14, post-16 and post-18 options at, and leading up to, important transition points.