While education was nowhere near top billing in today’s Budget, and any changes to school funding and teacher pay were put off for another day, there were still some important announcements made for our schools, teachers and pupils. Russell Hobby, chief executive of Teach First writes for iNews.
In a Budget promising jobs for the future, it was unsurprising that Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) subjects were top priority. Policies to encourage young people to pursue maths and computing – including a £600 Maths Premium for schools for every additional pupil who takes A-level or core maths and commitment that every secondary school pupil can study computing – will likely go down well with businesses hunkering under a cloud of Brexit uncertainty who are anxious about the talent of the future.
However, underpinning this is the need for more teachers to thrive in their jobs and deliver great lessons in these essential subjects. That’s why I was pleased to see that buried away in the statement was the announcement of £42million for a Teacher Development Premium to develop those teachers working in the parts of the country where they’re needed most.
Despite efforts over the years to close the gap in the educational success between children from the poorest and wealthiest backgrounds, in 2017 it is still the case that how much their parents earn is the greatest determinate of a child’s life chances. There is a whole pool of talented young people who are not achieving their potential but whose lives could be turned around by a brilliant teacher.
That’s why a commitment of £1,000 for individual teachers working in areas that have fallen behind to pursue high quality professional development may not make any budget headlines – however this is vital if we’re to not only attract great people to schools, but to keep them in teaching.
Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin
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