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SPRING BUDGET 2017, HEADLINES FOR EDUCATION


The Society has considered the budget launched by Chancellor Phillip Hammond on Wednesday 8 March 2017 and offers its initial response.

Investment in technical education for 16-19 year olds rising to over £500 million
New T-levels for 16-19 year old technical students will be introduced from autumn 2019. Students will be able to choose from 15 different routes such as construction, digital, agriculture or creative and design.

The number of hours of training for these students will increase by over 50%. As part of the course, all students will take part in an industry work placement.

The government will also provide maintenance loans for students doing higher-0level technical courses at National colleges and Institutes of Technology like those available for University students.

The Society gives a reserved welcome to the investment in T-levels but acknowledges these are still a ’ work in progress’ and will keep an active watching brief on their development and proposed implementation.

The Society would not wish to see increased separation of academic and vocational routes unless a parity of esteem between those routes is observed.

£300 million investments for new academic research placements
£90 million will provide 1,000 new PhD places, including in science, technology, engineering and maths.

£210 million will create new fellowships, including programmes to attract top global talent to conduct research in areas such as bioscience and biotechnology, quantum technologies and satellite and space technology.

The Society welcomes investment in academic research but wishes to see equal opportunities being given to academic research within the context of the arts and humanities and the creative industries sector.

Loans for part-time and doctoral students from 2018
The government will provide maintenance loans for people entering part–time degrees, and doctoral loans of up to £25,000 to support higher-level study.

The Society welcomes investment in academic research but wishes to see equal opportunities being given to academic research within the context of the arts and humanities and the creative industries sector.

£536 million for new free schools and grammar schools and to maintain existing schools
£320 million will go to new free schools. £216 million will be invested in school maintenance.
The Society feels very strongly that all children and young people would, and should benefit if all state schools were effectively funded, rather than privileging new free schools and grammar schools.

The Society is aware that the real-term cuts in funding in state schools are impacting to the detriment of the education of children and young people through increased class sizes, fewer learning resources and the demise of a broad and balanced curriculum to include art and design.
We ask the government to immediately rethink and revise this exclusive and divisive budget decision.

The National Audit Office have identified a cost of £6.7 billion to restore all school buildings to an acceptable state. We welcome the £216 million allocated to support school buildings, but question if it is nearly enough, and is it new money?

09 Mar 2017