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Make funding 'fair' for post-16 learners, AoC tells chancellor

Ahead of chancellor Philip Hammond's Spring Budget, the Association of Colleges calls on government to raise education spending to 5 per cent of GDP

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Ahead of chancellor Philip Hammond's Spring Budget, the Association of Colleges calls on government to raise education spending to 5 per cent of GDP

The Association of Colleges (AoC) is calling on the government to address the imbalance of funding for post-16 learners.

In its spring budget submission, the AoC calls for the government to boost overall education spending to 5 per cent of the gross domestic product and create "fair funding" for FE by increasing the national base rate for 16 to 18-year-olds to match that at Key Stage 4. At present, funding for 16 to 18-year-olds is 22 per cent lower than among 5- to 16-year-olds.

The AoC is also calling for a capital budget directed to colleges, and a new workforce development fund to support staff.

The recommendations set out by the AoC include:

  • Increasing spending on education and training from 4.3 per cent to 5 per cent of GDP;
  • Introducing “fair funding” by increasing the national base rate for 16 to 18-year-olds to match Key Stage 4;
  • Reforming the management of education spending to improve efficiency and allocation of funds;
  • Support for the full implementation of the Sainsbury Review, including investment in a capital budget directed to colleges, a new workforce development fund to support staff and a drive to double the supply of maths teachers by 2030;
  • Provision of financial support for young people to allow them to participate in learning, irrespective of transport costs and childcare;
  • A review of the adult education budget level of £1.5 billion in light of Brexit to guarantee a "Citizen’s Skills Entitlement" – six core capabilities needed for life and work;
  • An agreement from the government to guarantee apprenticeship spending between 2017 and 2020, regardless of levy collection.

Click here to see the full list of recommendations.

'Rethink needed'

In an exclusive article for TES, Julian Gravatt, assistant chief executive of the AoC, writes: "[The] AoC’s budget submission argues for a wider set of changes than just those relating to technical education. We suggest the Department for Education needs to rethink its approach to different age groups and reconsider the 22 per cent drop in funding at age 16."

He added: "An educated and skilled population will be the backbone for the country’s future economic success. Next month’s budget will be a chance for the Treasury to show that it takes this seriously."

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