News story

New funding for school improvement

The government announces new funding to address underperformance and help ensure every child has a good school place.

New resources to ensure the number of good school places continues to rise were announced today (30 November 2016) by Education Secretary Justine Greening.

Less than a week after new figures showed the number of good or outstanding places had risen by 420,000 in the last year, the Education Secretary reiterated her determination to continue that upward trend by making new funds available to the school system.

These include:

  • from September 2017, a £50 million a year fund for local authorities to continue to monitor and commission school improvement for low-performing maintained schools
  • a new £140 million ‘Strategic School Improvement Fund’ for academies and maintained schools - aimed at ensuring resources are targeted at the schools most in need of support to drive up standards, use their resources most effectively and deliver more good school places
  • alongside this new work, the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) has committed to spend a further £20 million over the next 2 years to scale up and disseminate evidence-based programmes and approaches

The government’s ambition remains that all schools will become academies forming a fully school-led system, where headteachers and school leaders collaborate to drive improvement in their schools.

In the meantime, while there continues to be a dual system of maintained schools and academies, it is vital that all schools have the resources they need to tackle underperformance.

Education Secretary Justine Greening said:

I want every child to have access to a good school place and with almost 1.8 million more pupils in good or outstanding schools than in 2010, we are making great strides towards that goal.

I want this investment to not only transform outcomes for children by improving schools, but also to make sure our school-led system learns from that work. That is why the EEF has a key role to play in this project.

It’s vital that we now pull these 2 aspects together to get the maximum impact for children and schools.

Sir Peter Lampl, chairman of the Education Endowment Foundation, said:

We know from our work over the last 5 years that capacity, particularly in the most challenging schools, is critical to helping schools improve and use an evidence-informed approach to driving up attainment.

We therefore very much welcome these additional funds, and look forward to supporting the system to make most use of the growing research base of what works.

Today’s announcement also provides further support for local authority schools ahead of the move to the new National Funding Formula. Maintained schools may choose to pool funding from their Dedicated School Grant to buy school improvement services such as bringing in subject or curriculum experts.

The new funding will sit alongside a wide range of other initiatives aimed at supporting school improvement including:

  • the £60 million investment to pilot a series of Opportunity Areas across the country, working in partnership with local organisations to look at ways of improving the life chances of young people
  • the £41 million maths mastery programme which will see the expansion of high-quality maths teaching across the primary school system to increase the number of children mastering the basics of numeracy
  • the £13 million regional academy growth fund (RAGF) supports successful academy trusts to grow and to improve standards in underperforming schools. Regional Schools Commissioners (RSCs) will prioritise applications that meet the specific needs in their region and of opportunity areas where applicable
  • the teaching and leadership innovation fund worth £75 million over 3 years focused on supporting teachers and school leaders in challenging areas to develop