School sixth forms and colleges will get a share of an additional £55 million in funding next year, but only for pupils taking certain A-levels.
The Department for Education has confirmed it is ring-fencing part of the extra £400 million allocated to sixth forms and colleges for 2020-21 to pay for the teaching of “expensive and crucial subjects”.
Of the £155 million ring-fenced, £55 million will be for pupils studying A-levels in the following subjects: biology, chemistry, computer science, design and technology, electronics, further maths, maths, physics and statistics.
For each pupil studying at least two of those subjects, sixth forms will receive an additional £400 on top of the £4,188 annual funding rate for 16 and 17-year-olds.
The so-called “high-value courses premium” will also be paid for other level 3 qualifications, including engineering, building and construction and ICT for practitioners.
A further £35 million will be allocated to support A-level students who have not yet achieved a pass in GCSE English and maths.
The remaining £65 million will aid the delivery of courses in building and construction, hospitality and catering, engineering, transportation operations and maintenance, manufacturing technologies and science
Gavin Williamson, the education secretary, 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.
“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.”
The government’s announcement earlier in the year that some funding would be ring-fenced for certain qualifications.
James Kewin, deputy chief executive of the sixth form colleges association, said his organisation had been “concerned that only the minority of students that pursue a technical course would be likely to benefit”.
“Since then, we have been making the case for A-levels and applied general qualifications that meet the high cost/high value criteria to be eligible for this funding, so we are delighted by today’s announcement.”
The additional £400 million for post-16 education in 2020-21 was unveiled as part of a package of spending commitments by Boris Johnson’s government in August.
In September, the government confirmed the additional cash meant the funding base rate for 16 and 17-year-olds would increase from £4,000 to £4,188 next year, a rise of 4.7 per cent but still far below the £4,760 demanded by the SFCA.
The government has also announced it will change the way some subject areas are weighted in its post-16 funding. So-called programme cost weightings will be increased for science, engineering, manufacturing technologies, transportation operations and maintenance, building and construction, and hospitality and catering.