NEW Government figures show that the funding gap between schools and colleges has widened since a previous study in 1997. The comparison of the public funding of education and training for 16 to 19-year-olds shows that schools' costs are higher and FE colleges are lower, writes Ngaio Crequer.
In the schools, an increase in budgets and a rise in the proportion of students staying on in the sixth form led to extra implied funding for those taking A-levels. In FE colleges, average levels of funding were reduced between 1995-96 and 1996-97, says the study.
The new figures show costs for achieving three A-levels are: local authority schools, pound;7,060; grant-maintained schools, pound;7,110; general FE colleges, pound;6,580; and sixth-form colleges, pound;6,360. The previous study was criticised by the Association of Colleges, which said the comparisons were flawed.
Since then a consultation group, including the AOC and the Further Education Funding Council, has been meeting to discuss the figures.
John Brennan, director of development at the AOC, said that apart from one caveat on the treatment of depreciation on inherited assets, the new approach fairly represented the comparative position between the sectors. "We now have a very different picture on the public record of what the costs are and that will influence people's thinking. We have won the argument."