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Schools to get up to £2,400 for each extra A-level maths student

Maths premium cash is welcome but it does not make up for 'chronic underfunding' of post-16 education, say schools and colleges

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Maths premium cash is welcome but it does not make up for 'chronic underfunding' of post-16 education, say schools and colleges

Schools that boost their number of students taking post-16 maths qualifications, including A levels, will be able to claim up to £2,400 per student in "maths premium" funding next year, the government announced today.

The government will issue schools and colleges with a baseline number, based on the average number of students taking the course in 2015-16 and 2016-17.

For each student above this baseline figure, who is enrolled on an AS-level maths or core maths qualification in September 2018, schools will get a £600 premium.

For students enrolled on a two-year A level in maths or further maths, schools will get a £1,200 premium – based on £600 for each of the two years.

And if an "additional" student does both A level maths and further maths, it would be possible to claim £2,400. 

The maths premium was announced in the Autumn Budget, when it was proposed that schools and colleges would be rewarded with £600 for every extra pupil who decides to take maths or further maths A levels.

When the Budget announcement was made, teachers were doubtful whether the additional money would help to increase the numbers of pupils studying post-16 maths, with 49 per cent in a Tes Twitter poll saying it would not. The release of the full details has prompted a similarly lukewarm response.

'It will have little impact'

“Small, targeted interventions like the advanced maths premium may grab the headlines, but they will have little impact on the vast majority of students,” James Kewin, deputy chief executive of the Sixth Form Colleges Association, said today.

"Schools and colleges will welcome any new investment in 16-18 education, as sixth-formers in England are chronically underfunded compared to other countries and other phases of education. However, as the advanced maths premium is targeted at ‘additional’ students who take a maths course, it is likely that a significant proportion of this funding will be added to the £373 million of 16-18 funding that the government has underspent over the past three years."

A spokesperson for the Association of Colleges said the premium could benefit some institutions: “The DfE doesn't fund 16-18 education properly for the task that colleges and schools need to do. The advanced maths premium will, therefore, be helpful to some institutions and it is good that the DfE‎ is promoting core maths as well as the A-level route."

Nick Gibb, schools standards minister, said: “Although maths remains the most popular subject at A level, this premium will open up the opportunity for even more young people to study advanced maths qualifications, providing them with the knowledge and skills for future success. 

“Our reforms to post-16 maths qualifications have led to a more rigorous curriculum, enabling pupils to gain a deeper understanding of the subject. This will lead to better options for further study and training, including careers in engineering, computing, accountancy and design.” 

The money will be available in the 2019-20 financial year.

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