Schools to receive £600 for every additional pupil who takes an advanced maths qualification

DfE release details of the new Advanced Maths Premium that was announced in the autumn budget – which promises £600 of extra funding to be awarded to schools for each pupil that takes a maths subject at A-Level

Schools standards minister Nick Gibb and chief secretary to the treasury Elizabeth Truss announced the Advanced Maths Premium – a new fund to help schools and colleges increase the number of students studying maths after GCSE – on February 28.

According to data, pupils who do well in maths at school earn higher wages, with men seeing a premium of 12.5% and women a 23.9% increase.

The premium seeks to support institutions to increase the number of girls and those from disadvantaged backgrounds taking advanced maths qualifications, to help equip Britain with the skills needed to boost the future economy. The £600 premium is equivalent to 15% of the base funding per student.

It follows a commitment from the education secretary to continue improving academic standards in order to deliver a truly world-class education, that inspires young people to make the most of their lives and gives them the opportunity to fulfil their ambitions, no matter where they live.

From September 2018, schools and colleges will receive an extra £600 premium for each additional pupil taking the one-year AS maths or the Core Maths qualification. This could mean £1,200 for each additional pupil who takes the two-year A level in maths or further maths.

While maths continues to be the most popular subject at A level, with almost 25% of pupils choosing to study it, there are almost three-quarters of students with an A*-C in GCSE maths at age 16 who decide not to continue studying the subject.

Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said:

“We welcome any extra investment in 16-19 education because it is a sector that is woefully underfunded. However, this funding is very limited in scope as it is targeted only at maths, and then applies only to additional students who take maths compared to an average over two previous years. It is nowhere near enough to address the fact that sixth forms and colleges are having to cut courses and student support services because of government underfunding. We are calling on the government to conduct a review of 16-19 funding as a matter of urgency.

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“It is also unfair that the premium does not reflect the efforts of schools and colleges which have already worked hard to increase maths entries and can now only access this funding by increasing numbers even further.”

Paul Whiteman, general secretary of school leaders’ union NAHT, comments:

“Schools will welcome any additional funding as budgets are desperately close to breaking point. But the concern is that incentivising maths so strongly will lead to a narrower curriculum for pupils.

“It is important that a wide range of A-Level subjects remain available, including other STEM subjects as well as the arts and humanities, which have seen declining numbers in recent years.

“Maths is already the most popular subject at A-Level and the government has failed for many years now to meet its own recruitment targets for maths teachers. Schools already appreciate the value of mathematics – their biggest challenge is finding teachers qualified to teach it.

“Rather than cherry-picking individual subjects to fund, school leaders would ask the government to look urgently at school funding overall, and to concentrate on its key duty: providing sufficient money and teachers to schools, so that they can continue to provide an excellent, balanced, education for all.”

Dr Mary Bousted, joint general secretary of the National Education Union (NEU), said:

“Post-16 education is seriously underfunded, and recent government funding decisions have not solved the underlying funding issues. The maths premium will not even scratch the surface of this problem. We know that pupils have already been put off doing maths A-level because the maths GCSE is now much bigger and more challenging. If pupils really don’t want to do maths and think they won’t achieve good grades, it is unlikely that schools will put them in for maths, despite the premium.”

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