The Spring Budget 2017 – Implications for education

Chancellor Philip Hammond has confirmed that the government will allocate £320m to free schools which will “enable the creation of new academically selective free schools” – grammar schools in all but name. This money will be used to help fund up to 140 new schools, creating more than 70,000 new places. The Budget will also include a further £216 million to rebuild and refurbish existing schools in England, to ensure that they are fit for purpose.

The investment is intended to build on the Government’s commitment to open 500 new free schools by 2020.

The move follows on from Prime Minister Theresa May’s pledge last autumn to create a place at a good school for every child, in part through allowing selective schools to expand and new ones to open.

The Chancellor also pledged to invest in “game-changing reforms” for technical education, which would include T-levels, 15 standardised technical qualifications instead of the 13,000 different qualifications in existence today.

Investment in technical education for 16 to 19 year olds is promised to rise to over £500 million.

New T-levels for 16 to 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 or agriculture.

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-level technical courses at National Colleges and Institutes of Technology – like those available to university students.

Also, there will be a £300 million investment 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.