Additional funding needed for FE, sector organisations urge in joint letter

Organisations representing students, teachers and further education institutions have joined forces ahead of the autumn statement

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Unions and further education sector bodies have joined forces, urging the chancellor to increase investment in colleges.

Days before the autumn statement, organisations representing students, teachers and further education institutions stressed in a joint letter that additional funding for FE and its teaching workforce was needed to meet the prime minister’s ambition for social mobility.

According to the letter, the number of adult learners now totals more than 1 million, but 15,000 fewer teachers and support staff currently work in the sector than in 2009. It urged the government to take "a strategic approach to strengthening local further education".

The letter is co-signed by the University and College Union (UCU), Association of Colleges, National Union of Students, Learning and Work Institute, Unison, Association of Teachers and Lecturers, Voice, GMB and Unionlearn.

Sally Hunt, UCU general secretary, said: "The prime minister has set out a clear ambition for improving social mobility, and further education has a crucial role to play in supporting this aim.

"However, more resource is required to ensure that everyone, regardless of age or background, can access the learning they need.

"We are jointly calling on the chancellor to make a strategic investment in rebuilding the capacity of further education providers, funding extra teaching and support staff, so that more learners are able reach their potential."

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