In the first of the newly rescheduled November Budget statements, Chancellor Philip Hammond delivered a budget that was more akin to the last budget of a party’s term in government rather than the first one of a thrusting and eager new administration.
He spoke for over an hour and said very little of what was not already known, or about funding that had already been pledged elsewhere in the last parliament. Its lack of content left commentators on indirect, corporation, and personal taxation with little to digest, analyse or comment upon.
The announcements affecting education were:
Teacher Development Premium
Teachers in some of the most deprived schools in the country will have the opportunity to receive a “training premium” with a view to raising standards.
Teachers in under-performing schools will be given £1,000 to be used on additional teacher training - with a total fund of £42m available to be invested. The new initiative will target areas that have “fallen behind”, and seeks to redress the regional skills gap giving teachers across all subjects the opportunity to access additional training.
Maths at A-level
Funding - worth £177 million - to improve the take up of maths in schools; where the money will be used to provide schools and sixth forms with an extra £600 for every pupil who takes maths or further maths A-levels and core maths.
Computer Science teachers
A further £84 million will be set aside to triple the number of qualified computer science teachers to 12,000 coming out of a National Centre for Computing. This was said to be part of the joined up government approach with investments elsewhere in what the Chancellor referred to as the “technological revolution”, and stressed the need to make the UK’s future workforce “Brexit-ready”.
Schools continue to face their biggest ever financial challenge; NUT general secretary Kevin Courtney said their analysis has found 98 per cent of schools will see cuts in real terms under the new funding formula to 2020.
There was no extra cash in the November Budget for the basic school needs, and we see schools struggling to stay still and simply meet annual running costs with no opportunity for investment and improvement in their buildings or staffing ratios.
Putting money into the funding formula, rather than focused on one particular type of school in free schools, would have benefitted all schools with headteachers’ organisations saying £2 billion of investment and funding is needed to redress the cuts experienced over the last seven years.
This may be an important time for schools to take a look at their own budgets. One Education’s School Finance team can provide budget support to suit your school’s individual needs; to find out more, call 0844 967 1111 or fill in our contact form.