The recent budget by George Osborne contained a number of initiatives that will impact on schools and the millions of children that attend them every day.
Although announced this week they are a continuation of policies that have previously being trialled or enacted at various levels of the education system.
We have recently blogged about the biggest change unveiled during the budget, which was the conversion of all UK schools to academies by 2022. However, there were also announcements around the length of the school day, after school activities and the so called “sugar tax” that have also dominated the post budget discussions.
Although the sugar tax is not strictly an education issue, it is an important one. The tax is expected to raise £1.2bn in the first two years after it is enacted. The mechanics of which are not only designed to help tackle childhood obesity, but also raise revenue that will be used for education initiatives.
These include £285m per year to spend on the extended day program for secondary schools; £320m to double the primary school PE premium and £10m to provide 1,600 schools with breakfast clubs.
Extended School Days
The extended school days’ program will be used to fund extracurricular activities focused around sports and the arts. These sessions will extend the school day for many students by more than an hour and is based on research that such activities improve student achievement.
The proposal has been met with enthusiasm by Russell Hobby, the general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers, he said:
“Any expansion of hours must be properly funded, as school budgets are extremely tight. As long as this remains at the discretion of schools to meet the needs of their pupils, then it seems positive.”
“The idea that most schools shut at 3.30pm is itself pretty outdated, but we have no problem with extra money to help them in the activities they offer.”