Cuts to funding affecting FE quality, says Ofsted

Chief inspector says sustainability and quality of further education and skills provision have been hit

ofsted colleges FE skills providers inspectors funding budget

The government should use the forthcoming spending review to increase the base rate for 16-18 funding, Ofsted’s chief inspector has said.

In a letter to the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee, dated 30 October, Amanda Spielman said that while it was true to say spending per pupil in primary and secondary schools had increased significantly in real terms since the early 1990s, “the same is not true for further education and skills (FES) spending”.

“I have expressed my concerns before, based on our inspection evidence, that the real-term cuts to FES funding are affecting the sustainability and quality of FES provision,” said Ms Spielman. “My strong view is that the government should use the forthcoming spending review to increase the base rate for 16 to 18 funding.”

Major risk

Ms Spielman was writing to the committee to set out what the inspectorate considered to be major risks to the quality of education.

Her letter comes after this week's Budget was seen as “deeply disappointing” for FE funding.

Despite the Love Our Colleges and Raise the Rate campaigns calling for an increase in FE funding, the only substantial new announcement in the speech by Philip Hammond was a cut in apprenticeship contributions for small employers.

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Julia Belgutay

Julia Belgutay

Julia Belgutay is deputy FE news editor for Tes

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