£10m for Esol as Javid vows to 'start transforming' FE

'Further education transformed my life, and today we start transforming further education,' says chancellor Sajid Javid

Stephen Exley

Chancellor Sajid Javid vows to 'start transforming further education'

Chancellor Sajid Javid has announced an extra £10 million for English for speakers of other languages (Esol) provision, in a spending-round statement that promised to “start transforming further education”.

The speech highlighted the additional £400m for colleges and sixth forms announced on Saturday, with the chancellor stressing how his education at Filton Technical College (now part of South Gloucestershire and Stroud College) “transformed my life”.

The only new funding announced was £10m for Esol provision, to fund the second wave of the integration-areas programme, as part of the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government’s settlement for 2020-21. This cash, the chancellor said, would help the “1 million adults who do not speak English well or at all”.

More news: £400m boost for colleges: 16-18 funding finally raised

Quick read: Colleges to receive £100m for rising pensions bill

Opinion: '£400m cash boost for colleges is a good first step'

The increase in college funding

Mr Javid told the house: “Mr Speaker, the education system is about more than just schools. For too long, further education has been a forgotten sector.

“Over 1 million people continue their education beyond the age of 16 in colleges or sixth forms, and I know because I was one of them. I went to my local FE college. If I hadn’t had the teachers and lecturers that I did, I wouldn’t be standing here today as chancellor.

“Further education transformed my life, and today we start transforming further education with a £400m increase in 16-19 education funding next year. The base rate will increase to £4,188, a faster rate of growth than the core school funding.”

'A good first step'

The chancellor paid tribute to the lobbying by former skills minister Robert Halfon and Harborough MP Neil O’Brien on behalf of the sector. Also announced over the weekend was an additional £100m to cover colleges’ increasing pension costs for 2020-21.

Bill Watkin, chief executive of the Sixth Form Colleges Association, which has led the Raise the Rate campaign, said: “The chancellor used today’s spending round to confirm the £400m investment in 16 to 19 education announced at the weekend.

"This is a welcome first step to giving 16 to 19 education the investment it needs.

"The Raise the Rate campaign will continue to press for a much bigger increase in core funding than the £188 per student announced today, but we now have a foundation on which to build.

"Our thanks go to the coalition of campaign partners, colleges, schools, parents, students and MPs that has worked tirelessly to secure today’s increase in funding."

Stephen Evans, chief executive of the Learning and Work Institute, said: “After a long squeeze on further education, the £400 million extra funding for 16–19 education is very welcome. However, it does not fully reverse the cuts the sector has seen, and there appears to be no additional investment for adult education. And with the prospect of apprenticeship levy funding running out, there will be concerns among small businesses about how they will fund investment in apprenticeships and skills."

£400m for further education: in detail

The one-year package announced on Saturday includes:

  • £190m to "protect and increase" the 16-18 base rate, which will go up by almost £200 from the current rate of £4,000 per student.
  • £120m to "help deliver expensive but crucial subjects, such as engineering".
  • £35m for targeted interventions to support students on level 3 courses who failed GCSE maths and English, so they can resit their qualifications.
  • £25m extra to deliver T levels.
  • £10m extra for the advanced maths premium, worth £600 for every additional student who takes on A- and AS-level maths
  • £20m to "help the sector to continue to recruit and retain brilliant teachers and leaders, and provide more support to ensure high-quality teaching of T levels".

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Stephen Exley

Stephen Exley

Stephen Exley is a freelance writer, director of external affairs at Villiers Park Educational Trust and former FE editor at Tes.

Find me on Twitter @stephenexley

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