English and maths GCSE resit students and apprentices are set to attract higher funding rates under government plans announced today.
The Department for Education said it will invest an additional £150 million per year over the next two years from 2024/25. It is part of a £600 million reform package being introduced while officials work on a new “advanced British standard” qualification to replace A-levels and T Levels.
The funding boost means that if a student is retaking English and maths GCSE while studying at level 2 or below on their 16 to 19 course, they will now attract the same funding as those studying at level 3.
And all apprentices who have not gained their level 2 English and maths qualification will have their funding lifted to match the adult education budget – moving the rate up by 54 per cent from £471 to £724 increase.
The Association of Employment and Learning Providers said urged the DfE to implement the “long overdue” funding increases as quickly as possible.
A spokesperson added: “Although the content of [English and maths] functional skills qualifications still needs further consideration, as does DfE’s policy position on exemptions and exit requirements, this proposal to match the adult education budget rate is a welcome step forward.
Colleges and providers have this year been met with an influx of students who haven’t passed GCSE English and maths.
FE Week analysis suggests that 38,000 more students will have to continue studying English compared to last year after failing to achieve a 4 or above. This is a 28.6 per cent rise – above the 3.3 per cent rise in entries for both subjects. Nearly 22,000 students will have to continue maths compared to 2022 – a 14.9 per cent rise.
The DfE said: “We know poor literacy and numeracy holds young people, and our economy, back – so it is right we prioritise raising the floor of attainment now.”
The £600 million package will also include around £100 million a year to offer £6,000 tax-free bursaries per year to teachers in “key shortage subjects” if they are in the first five years of their career. DfE hopes this will help improve the recruitment and retention of teachers.
“We will invest c.£100 million each year to double the rates of the existing Levelling Up Premium and extending it to those teaching eligible subjects in all FE colleges,” the department said.
“This will mean that those teaching key technical such as engineering, electronics and digital, and key STEM subjects, will benefit from the support already given to maths, chemistry, physics and computing teachers in eligible schools.”
The cash will also include £40 million for the Education Endowment Foundation to expand its focus to post-16.
Documents stated: “EEF will act as the independent authority on creating and sharing evidence for teachers and leaders on what works to support outcomes for 16 to 19-year-olds, with a particular focus on approaches that work best to narrow gaps in attainment.”
Another £60 million over the two years will “improve maths education, including through: expanding teaching for mastery approaches across the country, using our Maths Hubs; and increasing access to Core Maths through provider incentives and an expanded digital tuition platform”.