Colleges will get £600 for every extra student who studies maths at level three under a proposal due to be set out in today’s budget.

According to The Daily Telegraph, the chancellor will announce the £177 million incentive as part of a bundle of new education measures.

The money for maths skills will cover a £600 payment to schools and colleges for every extra student who continues to study the subject beyond GCSE, which the Treasury confirmed this morning.

This applies to all level three maths provision, so it includes core maths qualifications.

“Colleges will welcome any new investment in 16 to 19 education, as sixth formers in England are chronically underfunded compared to other countries and other phases of education,” said James Kewin, the deputy chief executive of the SFCSA.

“Our recent funding impact survey showed that over a third of schools and colleges have dropped STEM courses as a result of funding pressures, including further maths and core maths qualifications.”

James Kewin

Core maths was first introduced for teaching in 2014 and is a “generic title” for a range of different level three maths qualifications, but not a qualification in itself.

Its purpose is to widen participation in the subject from 16 and to support the development of maths skills for progression to higher education and employment.

It is mostly for learners not studying A-levels to study a level three maths course alongside their main study programme.

Core maths is used in the Department for Education’s 16-t0-19 performance tables and can be used as part of the tech bacc – a vocational qualification which involves students taking one or more tech levels, a maths qualification and an extended written project, and will appear in T-levels.

“This new package of measures does not address the fundamental underfunding of sixth form education in England,” added Mr Kewin.

“The government’s priority should be to ensure that schools and colleges receive the funding they need to provide young people with a rounded, high quality, education – irrespective of the subjects they choose to study at A-level.

“The government has clearly listened to some of the concerns expressed through the Support Our Sixth-formers campaign – but there is still a long way to go to ensure all sixth form students in England get a fair deal on funding.”

Support Our Sixth Formers, also backed by the Association of Colleges and FE Week, wants a £200 “SOS uplift” in 16-to-18 per-pupil funding rates.

The maths level three funding announcement comes on top of Philip Hammond’s other budget plans to invest £76 million into retraining adults who want to work in the digital and construction sectors.

The Treasury is to roll the fund out in a new “formal partnership” with the Confederation of British Industry and the Trades Union Congress, which will oversee a new national retraining scheme.

The chancellor will make his budget statement in parliament shortly before 1pm today.

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