GCSE resits and funding: The Lib Dems' election pledges

With a general election planned for 12 December, where do the Liberal Democrats stand on FE? And what will their manifesto say?

GCSE resits and extra funding: the Liberal Democrats' pledges for FE

With another general election looming, the fate of further education is unclear as all three major political parties pledge different changes for the sector.

From GCSE resits to college funding,  the Liberal Democrats were very vocal on FE during the party conference in Bournemouth. Here’s everything you need to know about their policies on post-16 education.


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GCSE resits

The party promised to scrap the controversial GCSE resits policy. Under a Liberal Democrat government, students who didn’t gain a grade 4 in GCSE maths or English wouldn't be made to retake the GCSEs. Instead, they could take a free English or maths course more suited to their needs. 

The motion also said that sixth forms and FE colleges  should be reimbursed for the VAT they pay while providing publicly funded courses. 

Funding 

The Lib Dems  have pledged £1 billion of extra funding to FE with a motion entitled: "Education is for everyone: investing in further education and learning throughout life" passed at its party conference in Bournemouth.

The party's education spokesperson, Layla Moran, told the conference that the “narrow, rigid template” given to students today of working hard to achieve academically, before proceeding to university, did not suit everyone.

She said: “While this story could well be the template for a great life, it could also be misleading, and even potentially damaging. Because life doesn’t often work out this way. And when it doesn’t, our education system simply struggles to cope."

She pointed out that two out of five FE colleges are in deficit, and said it was “time we ended the divide between schools and colleges”.

The motion also urged the government to extend the pupil premium to 16-19 students.

Adult education

The Lib Dems have also proposed introducing a Personal Education and Skills Account (Pesa), which would give all adults over 25 a £9,000 grant over their lifetime to pay for further education or training. The money could be used to pay for education or training courses, and will be made in at least three payments of £3,000. Under the scheme, adults would also be able to access free careers advice.

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