College funding: which subjects will get £120m boost?

A levels, T levels and other qualifications will benefit from the 'high value courses premium' and weighting changes

Stephen Exley

College funding: Subjects announced for £120m boost

Additional 16-19 funding will be targeted at maths, science and vocational subjects, the Department for Education has announced.

The £400 million college funding package announced by chancellor Sajid Javid in August included £120 million for “expensive but crucial subjects”. 

Today the DfE confirmed which subjects this change would apply to in 2020-21.

Background: £400m boost for colleges: 16-18 funding finally raised

Quick read: Boris Johnson backs FE funding

Background: College funding boost to be announced tomorrow

Some £65 million will go towards changing the programme cost weightings in six “key, more expensive” subject areas:

  • Building and construction.
  • Hospitality and catering.
  • Engineering.
  • Transportation operations and maintenance.
  • Manufacturing technologies.
  • Science.

A levels: high-value courses premium

The remaining £55 million will be allocated through the “high-value courses premium”. This is described as “additional funding to encourage and support delivery of selected level 3 courses in subjects that lead to higher wage returns and support the industrial strategy, to enable a more productive economy”.

The subjects which will benefit from the premium are A levels in:

  • Biology.
  • Chemistry.
  • Computer science.
  • Design and technology.
  • Electronics.
  • Further mathematics.
  • Mathematics.
  • Physics.
  • Statistics.

Other subjects that will benefit include other level 3 qualifications (including T levels) with at least 360 guided learning hours in the fields of:

  • Engineering.
  • Manufacturing technologies.
  • Transport operations and maintenance.
  • Building and construction.
  • ICT for practitioners.

16-19 funding: a 'significant boost'?

The DfE said these pots of funding, along with £35 million for English and maths announced during the summer, were “likely to bring the average funding per 16- to 19-year-old student in general further education colleges to around £5,000”.

Education secretary Gavin Williamson said: “We want all young people to have access to high-quality education and training that will set them on the path to a rewarding career. Next year, colleges and school sixth forms will benefit from a significant £400 million funding boost to help them to do this.

“Part of this will be £155 million to support the delivery of courses that we know lead to higher wages and better career prospects for students.”

College funding: raising the rate

James Kewin, deputy chief executive of the Sixth Form Colleges Association, said colleges were “delighted” with the announcement.

“The high-wage, high-skilled economy envisaged in the government’s industrial strategy will be driven by leaders, scientists, technicians, engineers and others who in most cases will have followed the A-level or applied general path during their 16-18 education. Targeting the £120 million at some of these courses is therefore a welcome development.

“Although we remain convinced that the optimum way to increase investment in sixth form education is by raising the national funding rate to the required level – at least £4,760 per student – ensuring that targeted interventions like this benefit students pursuing a mainstream sixth form education is the next best policy.”

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Stephen Exley

Stephen Exley

Stephen Exley is a freelance writer, director of external affairs at Villiers Park Educational Trust and former FE editor at Tes.

Find me on Twitter @stephenexley

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