Award scheme judged divisive

21st January 2005 at 00:00
Colleges will be offered new rewards for improved performance under plans announced this week by the Learning and Skills Council.

The "premium funding allocations", which pay top colleges an extra 1 per cent of budget, will be scrapped. Instead a Beacon Award with more cash will go to colleges showing significant improvements.

The LSC agrees with colleges which say the existing scheme favours small, well-heeled colleges over large metropolitan ones and is "divisive and unhelpful".

Measures aimed at meeting rising costs are spelled out in a letter to colleges from LSC chief executive Mark Haysom.

There is an extra pound;115 million this year, following the grant letter from the Department for Education and Skills last November. The council has diverted pound;160m for non-teaching to mainstream college provision and the DfES will "underwrite" an extra pound;64m the LSC needs to avoid swingeing cuts in adult learning.

But Rob Wye, LSC director of strategy, warns it will still be a tough year.

"More money has been announced but colleges are under great pressure because of record growth in student numbers."

Cash for costs will rise 5 per cent but colleges are expected to increase fees by 10 per cent to release cash for 16 to 19-year-olds, apprenticeships and the adult level 2 (GCSE-equivalent) learning entitlement. Money will also be taken from colleges where take-up misses the target.

This appears to have balanced the books, but at the cost of longer-term planning. Mr Haysom says: "While the position for 2005-06 is relatively clear there is a significant uncertainty over funding arrangements for 2006-07 and beyond."

John Brennan, chief executive of the Association of Colleges, said: "We regret that the three-year planning is now held in abeyance, having adopted it so recently."

However, there was much that colleges would view positively, he said. These included extra cash, and guaranteed funding for 16 to 19-year-old students, while holding the line on adult learning. There would be a 2.5 per cent growth in real terms and a very cautious strategy on the movement towards fees.

"That the council has looked to maintain stability rather than going for radical changes is in itself a good thing," he said.

Comment 4

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number

Comments

The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now