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Funding threat to sixth forms

MINISTERS are preparing a high-profile campaign to persuade parents that school sixth forms should be funded on the same basis as colleges.

On July 1 the Government will publish a White Paper setting out plans for a shake-up of all post-16 education and training. There will be a new funding body for the sector and ministers hope eventually to include school sixth forms in the integrated structure.

The idea is to have common funding for sixth forms and colleges. But the problem is that there is a 12 per cent funding disparity between schools and colleges - in favour of the former. The fear is that uneconomic and small school sixth forms may have to close.

There is enormous support for sixth forms among parents and any threat to them would present David Blunkett, the Education Secretary, with a huge political problem. The White Paper therefore will adopt a cautious note, presenting various options and proposing a transitional period for schools.

The Government will attempt to change hearts and minds by persuading parents that an integrated structure will benefit both schools and colleges.

FE Focus, 29

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