Colleges and schools will receive £600 for every extra pupil who opts to study maths under proposals revealed in the government’s Budget.
Philip Hammond, the chancellor of the exchequer, has unveiled a £177 million incentive as part of various new measures to boost schools.
However, there’s no more extra money for core school spending and this is despite heads calling this week for an extra £1.7 billion to help tackle cash shortages for their budgets.
The cash for maths skills is for every extra pupil who continues to study beyond GCSE level with the school or college receiving £600 for each one.
Students in the UK studying maths at A-level
Currently, there are around 90,000 students in the UK studying maths at A-level and the country is ranked 27th in the world in Pisa league tables for maths abilities.
The move has been welcomed by the Mathematical Association which says that offer GCSE exams may lead to a drop in the number of students opting to study maths at A-level.
There’s also money available for underperforming schools who can access £1,000 of training for every teacher that requires it.
That’s part of a £42 million project to help train teachers in schools – but those skills are deemed to have ‘fallen behind’.
The money comes in addition to the announcement this week for £100 million for a National Centre for Computing.
Lack of extra funding for schools
However, the lack of extra funding for schools was criticised by the National Education Union which side the move would leave ‘teachers and parents deeply disappointed’.
A parent campaigner for school funding, Jo Yurky, told the BBC that the government’s spending plans are ‘out of touch with parents’ concerns’ and the announcement on maths funding is a ‘gimmicky idea’.
The UCU lecturers’ union said the Chancellor’s speech had a ‘glaring omission’ in there was no reference to a review that has been promised on future university funding and also for financial support for students.
The Labour party also criticised proposals and said there needs to be more movement on the level of student debt and that schools in England would, by 2019, be ‘5% worse off’.
National retraining scheme for adults
Among other plans announced by the Chancellor is for a national retraining scheme for adults with £30 million being provided to teach digital skills which has been made in partnership with the TUC and CBI.
This should go some way to help schools that have struggled to recruit computer science teachers and there will be £84 million provided over four years to help 12,000 more staff qualify in teaching the subject.
Also, there’s a promise of £20 million being offered to further education colleges to help them prepare for the so-called ‘T-level’ qualification which is for vocational subjects.