Press release

Government pledges funding to stretch brightest state students

Students on 4 or more A levels or equivalent will continue to receive funding after 2016.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government


Schools and colleges that stretch their brightest students by offering them 4 or more A levels or equally large technical qualifications will continue to be able to do so, thanks to new funding arrangements announced by the government today.

Funding for those that successfully study 4 or more A levels and large TechBacc programmes will be increased above basic funding rates to reflect the size of their courses, giving schools and colleges the green light to further help their most able students.

Skills Minister Nick Boles said:

Our funding should support all young people to fulfil their potential. And it is vital that schools are encouraged to offer their brightest students the broadest possible range of qualifications at age 16.

Alongside reforms to academic and technical qualifications, this announcement demonstrates our support for schools and colleges to stretch and challenge all their students.

Presently, funding for large programmes is paid in addition to basic funding, through formula protection funding (FPF). But when FPF ends in 2016 providers delivering successful large programmes will have that funding protected through today’s increase in basic funding. This will assure providers that they can continue to support their brightest students with stretching programmes that challenge their abilities.

The new funding rules will apply to those studying:

  • 4 or more A levels
  • large TechBacc programmes - rigorous packages of technical qualifications consisting of a tech level, a tough maths qualification and an extended research project
  • the full level 3 International Baccalaureate

From 2016 students that study 4 A levels and large TechBacc programmes will receive around £400 each year more than they presently do for their basic funding, and those studying 5 or more A levels and the full International Baccalaureate will receive around £800 more.

The funding will depend on the student achieving at least grade Bs, or equivalent, in all their subjects - ensuring it is appropriately used to stretch the brightest pupils.

Today the government is also securing funding for specialist land-based courses, such as agriculture, land-based engineering and environmental conservation, who also receive funding through FPF. From 2016, we will increase the funding premium that recognises the extra cost of such provision delivered in a specialist setting (known as the programme weighting) from its current 60% premium to 75%.

This will ensure these providers will continue to be able to support their students when the present formula protection funding arrangements end in 2016, meaning vital industries such as agriculture continue to benefit from skilled young people in the future.

The government has a package of reforms to help all students thrive post-16, including:

  • announcing a £10,000 golden hello for graduates to teach maths in further education colleges and training providers
  • changing the rules so that providers are funded on a per-student basis, rather than per-qualification, ensuring young people study high-quality qualifications that will help them get on in life
  • ending the historic unfair funding difference between post-16 schools and colleges by putting both on the same rate
  • introducing a rigorous new curriculum and world-class qualifications, ensuring proper preparation for further and higher education, and work
  • ensuring that young people who have not achieved at least a C in GCSE English or maths must continue studying those subjects as part of their further education
  • removing low-quality vocational qualifications from league tables in favour of tech levels proven to deliver the skills employers demand and the new TechBacc performance measure

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Published 22 July 2014