George Osborne announces plans for a major shake up of English schools

Chancellor George Osborne has used his Budget speech to announce that £1.5 billion would be spent on additional lessons and activities at secondary schools in England. The school day will be extended by an hour to accommodate these extra classes.

In addition, by 2022, all local education authorities and all English state schools will become academies. Schools which refuse to do so will be taken over. Currently, 2,075 out of 3,381 secondary schools are academies, according to the BBC.

The hope is to improve Britain’s position in international education league tables: “It is simply unacceptable that Britain continues to sit too low down the global league tables for education. So I’m going to get on with finishing the job we started five years ago, to drive up standards and set schools free from the shackles of local bureaucracy,” Mr Osborne said.

The chancellor also said a review, carried out by Professor Adrian Smith, would consider whether maths should be compulsory until the age of 18.

And an extra £500m would be made available to ensure a “fair funding formula” for schools – aimed at addressing imbalances in the system – is up and running by the end of the Parliament.

Mr Osborne said: “Providing schooling is the single most important thing we can do to help children from a disadvantaged background to succeed.”

It was also the single most important thing that could be done to boost the long term success of the country, he added.