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Sixth-form colleges fear cash shortfall

SIXTH-FORM colleges say they have been short-changed by funding plans which will leave them unable to afford performance-related pay.

Employers warn a 3.5 per cent budget increase proposed by the Department for Education and Skills will not cover their plans for performance-related pay.

The Sixth Form College Employers Forum estimates it will be left with pound;16.4 million for the third year of the teachers' pay initiative, in 20034 - but it had been expecting pound;18m.

Sue Witham, head of the SFCEF secretariat, has written to Margaret Hodge, further and higher education minister, asking her to reconsider the level of funding.

She told the minister: "Sixth- form colleges have, from the start of the initiative, been promised pound;18m in this third year. Our new nationally-agreed structure, providing a competitive package to the schoolteachers' structure totally backed by performance management, has been costed to use the pound;18m and any figure less than this will cause colleges difficulties in implementation."

Officials at the DfES are looking at their funding figures again and the SFCEF is hoping that the full pound;18m will be forthcoming.

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