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Proud of our funding record

Julian Gravatt's thoughtful article ("Something's got to give in funding process", FE Focus, June 14) raises a number of issues about Learning and Skills Council funding.

The LSC was successful in achieving almost twice the funding expectations of the sector, and there is no case for Julian's suggestion of uncertainty about how volumes are measured.

The LSC has taken a deliberate decision not to tie funding to student numbers; they are calculated for planning purposes only, thereby avoiding double jeopardy.

Under our approach, colleges are offered security, as they are paid for their breadth of provision rather than student numbers.

Julian also refers to changes in our approach to responsive growth. Far from creating uncertainty, the LSC has shown that it listens and responds to sector needs.

Our decision to increase funding for responsive growth in 16-18 and basic skills from 60 to 100 percent was in response to the demand for growth outstripping available resource.

In responding to the call of colleges and our own executive directors this way, the LSC has guaranteed payment in full for evidenced growth in priority areas.

That said, we are looking to the sector to drive out under-utilisation of an estimated pound;155m of resources.

The LSC is not in the business of making interest-free loans, neither is it efficient or effective for either the LSC or any college to be engaged in the substantial annual clawback exercise. Through better planning, focus of existing funds, inclusion of growth and the introduction of responsive growth, we anticipate better use of the resources. This, in turn, will increase ministerial confidence and help us make a better case for more resources.

Ken Pascoe

National Director of Operations Learning and Skills Council Coventry

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