Q2. How is the school budget allocated to ensure staff have access to the resources required to teach a broad curriculum?

Why this is important

High-quality and engaging science and maths education must be well resourced. A reasonable amount of the school’s budget needs to be allocated to this in order to cover costs such as scientific and mathematical equipment, consumables, facilities, and training and development.

Benchmarks

Schools will take different approaches to spending on science and maths. This may or may not include dedicated science and maths budgets. As school budgets differ, the figures below can only give an idea of the amount of money that other schools spend, and averages included are not indicative of best practice or model spends. Irrespective of how much is spent per student, this budget should be allocated and prioritised according to the needs of the school.

  • The Schools Financial Benchmarking tool can be used to determine the spend per pupil on all learning resources in similar schools.
  • A Wellcome report on the deployment of primary science and maths expertise found that many of the schools responding to a survey had science budgets in the region of £300 to £500 per annum. There were only a few schools which reported science budgets equivalent to those for maths and English.95

Ideas for improvement

School leaders, including governors, need to decide together how to allocate the school’s budget between competing priorities.

  • School leaders should ensure that it is clear how expenditure on science and maths resources, including consumables, is allocated in the budget.

It may be useful to perform an audit of available resources:

  • This will help subject leaders identify any gaps or needs.
  • These needs may then be addressed strategically, through discussion with school leaders, including governors, by the allocation of reasonable and realistic funds to fill these gaps over time.

There are sources of funding available outside of a school’s budget.

  • The Royal Society of Chemistry’s Biological and Medicinal Chemistry Sector runs educational grant schemes, including an enhanced equipment strand. Applications can be made by teachers for between £100 and £500 for the funding of science equipment which enriches pupils’ learning, but cannot be purchased through the normal budget.
  • The Royal Society runs a scheme of Partnership Grants, providing grants of up to £3,000 for STEM projects run in schools in partnership with a professional scientist.
  • The Rolls-Royce Science Prize is an annual awards programme to help teachers implement science teaching ideas in their school.
  • Schools have reported securing additional funding through social responsibility schemes run by some companies and also via competitions.97

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