Funding change ‘risks cuts’ to A-level sciences

Scientists have asked the government to reconsider a plan to remove higher funding for A-level science courses. In a letter to ministers the lobby group Science Community Representing Education (Score) said sciences cost more to run than many A-level subjects. This is from the BBC…

The loss of the 12% weighting “is likely to discourage schools and colleges from offering these more costly subjects”, suggests the letter.

The government says funding for science A-levels will not be cut.

Score, which represents leading scientific institutions including the Royal Society, Institute of Physics, Royal Society of Chemistry and Society of Biology, is concerned that A-level funding changes will have “detrimental effects on the offering and uptake of science A-levels”.

‘Negative impact’

In a letter to ministers, the chairman of Score, Prof Graham Hutchings, said that the group had “recently learnt that all academic 16-19 subjects will now be funded at base rate”.

He warns of a “likely negative impact” of the changes which would be “unintended – but no less real”.

The letter says that as sciences are practical subjects, needing laboratories, specialist equipment and technicians, they are more expensive to run than other subjects.

Under the current arrangements the funding paid to schools in England to deliver science A-levels is 12% higher than for other subjects. From September a new funding formula will fund all A-level subjects at the same rate.

Score says the changes could result in “severe funding cuts” and that some smaller schools might decide not to offer science A-levels while others might have to cut teaching time, reduce practical work or employ less experienced staff.

“This will impact negatively on students’ experience of science education,” writes Prof Hutchings.

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