College leaders, staff and students have backed a manifesto calling for a 5 per cent annual increase in the 16 to 19 funding rate for each of the next five years.
The manifesto is central to the Love Our Colleges campaign, which is backed by the Association of Colleges (AoC), NUS students’ union, Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), University and College Union (UCU), GMB, TUC, National Education Union (NEU) and Unison.
The campaign will form part of Colleges Week, which is scheduled to take place from Monday 15 October to Friday 19 October.
The document, agreed by all the backers of the campaign, will form the basis of efforts to lobby the government to increase FE funding ahead of the chancellor’s Autumn Budget.
'30 per cent real-terms cut'
The document said that between 2009 and 2019, college funding will have been cut in real terms by around 30 per cent.
The agreed statement notes that this has led to fewer hours of teaching and support for young people and a “drastic reduction” in the number of learning opportunities for adults.
On pay, the manifesto acknowledges that the inflation-adjusted value of staff wages has fallen by a quarter since 2009, meaning college teachers now earn £7,000 less on average than school teachers.
The manifesto calls on the government to increase college funding to sustainable levels, including:
- Increasing the 16 to 19 funding rate by 5 per cent a year for each of the next five years, and extending the pupil premium to cover post-16 students.
- Fully funding a National Retraining Scheme to support level 3 to 5 skills.
- Introducing a lifetime learning entitlement to fund skills training for all adults who have not previously achieved a level 3 qualification.
- Providing immediate exceptional funding, ring-fenced for pay, to cover the costs of a "fair pay deal" for college staff from this year onwards.