Basic Maths Premium Pilot

The Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) will evaluate the pilot to give colleges, sixth forms and other provider types additional financial resources to support students who are studying towards a GCSE maths grade 4 or above, (or Functional Skills Level 2 depending on their original GCSE results). Additional funding of £500 will be paid per eligible maths student through three funding models. For the purpose of the pilot, an eligible maths student is defined as those enrolled on a 16 to 19 study programme for the first time without prior attainment of a maths GCSE grade 4 or above for the 2018 to 2019 academic year cohort. Students who are exempt from the condition of funding will not be eligible. The aim of the study is to test different funding models and find out if they are effective at improving student outcomes.

469 colleges and other settings have been recruited by the Department for Education to take part in this study. They will be randomised into three groups:

  • One will get £500 in March 2019 for every eligible maths students arriving in September 2018;
  • Another will get £250 in March 2019 for every eligible maths student arriving in September 2018, and a further £250 in 2020/21 for every student who has achieved a GCSE grade 4 or above, or Functional Skills Level 2 if they arrived with a GCSE grade 2 or below by summer 2020; and
  • A third group will get £500 in 2020/21 for every eligible maths student who has achieved a GCSE grade 4 or Functional Skills Level 2 if they arrived with a GCSE grade 2 by summer 2020

Why are we funding it?

Since 2014, 16 year olds who don’t get at least a grade ‘4’ (roughly equivalent to a ‘C’) in their GCSE have had to keep on studying Maths and English until they are 18, or secure a GCSE grade 4 or above in these subjects.

However, supporting older students to secure these qualifications is challenging. Given that these are young people who have already been studying English and maths for 11 years and haven’t achieved the target grades, they are more likely than other students to feel disaffected and disengaged. Colleges have received no additional funding for these students, and achievement rates remain low: just one in six of those students eligible for free school meals who do not achieve the expected standard in English and maths at age 16 go on to gain those qualifications by age 19.

How are we evaluating it?

This will be evaluated by a team from NatCen. The evaluation will compare the outcomes of each of these funding methods to similar settings in areas not eligible for funding. In addition, it will attempt to provide some indicative evidence of the difference in outcomes between the different funding schemes. 

When will the evaluation report be due?

The evaluation report will be published in Spring 2022.