Chancellor urged to 'show colleges some love'

Chancellor Philip Hammond handed Valentine's Day card by #LoveOurColleges campaign, calling for better funding

George Ryan

The chancellor of the exchequer Philip Hammond has been handed a Valentine's Day card by groups representing college staff and leaders

Groups representing college staff and leaders urged the chancellor of the exchequer to "show colleges some love", by means of a Valentine's Day card delivered to the Treasury.

Representatives from further education unions and the Association of Colleges joined together to raise awareness of the #LoveOurColleges campaign, ahead of the Treasury's delayed spending review, which is expected to take place later this year.

The campaign, which has continued since the inaugural Colleges Week last October, has prompted MPs to debate college funding in Westminster Hall. Last Friday, 165 MPs signed a letter calling on chancellor Philip Hammond to raise the funding rate for colleges.

In September, the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) published research showing that spending per student in FE and sixth-form colleges was about 8 per cent lower than spending per pupil in secondary schools, while at the start of the 1990s, it was 50 per cent higher than in schools. Since 2010, the adult education budget has also been cut in half.

Read more: IFS: FE the 'big loser' in education funding

The campaign: Love Our Colleges: Why does it always rain on FE?

Opinion: 'The DfE can't ignore 16-19 funding any longer'

'Sector deserves better funding'

AoC president Steve Frampton said college leaders were "very grateful" for the support of MPs who had backed the #LoveOurColleges campaign.

He added: "On a day when we celebrate love, it's wonderful that a card from all of the college stakeholders is going to Philip Hammond with our very best wishes so he might give us the increase in college funding and pay for college staff that our sector deserves.

"I'm proud to be here to represent all the incredible staff in colleges and would like to send them love as well on this day for all the work they do for students."

'We want to feel a bit of love from the chancellor'

Head of FE at the University and College Union, Andrew Harden, said staff deserved fair pay and better funding for the colleges in which they work.

He added: "Colleges need proper funding so staff can deliver the kind of leading education that is the reason they chose to work in FE. 

"It's such a tragedy because some staff have left the sector already and we want to stop that. We want to feel a bit of love from the chancellor so college staff can carry on doing the job they love."

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George Ryan

George Ryan

George Ryan is a further education reporter for tes

Find me on Twitter @GeorgeMRyan

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