Colleges receive extra pound;500m

19th September 2003 at 01:00
The largest pot of funding for colleges has been increased by 14 per cent this year.

The Learning and Skills Council will hand out pound;4.2 billion in "participation funding" - which is the main source of cash in further education which is based on each college's prediction student numbers.

Ken Pascoe, the LSC's national operations director, said: "The figures give a good indication of the real increases in funding being made available to individual colleges in order to deliver the reforms outlined in Success for All and the Skills Strategy."

The budget, which compares with pound;3.7bn last year, runs from August this year.

It accounts for the bulk of colleges' annual income but it does not include smaller funding streams such as the local initiative fund, local investment and development fund, the standards fund and the European social fund.

The cash is subject to the colleges meeting student recruitment and retention targets. It can be adjusted upwards for those who exceed targets or clawed back for those which fall short.

The LSC has taken the step of publishing the allocation for individual colleges - a recommendation of its bureaucracy-busting task force, chaired by Sir George Sweeney, principal of Knowsley college in Merseyside.

Every recipient of participation funding is there - from Newent community school in Gloucestershire, which gets pound;24,000 to City of Bristol College, which gets pound;34.26million.

Mr Pascoe said the decision to publish the allocations is part of the LSC's commitment to "openness and transparency".

He added: "I am delighted to say that the LSC confirmed this year's allocations to the majority of FE institutions by the end of April 2003, significantly ahead of the timescale to which predecessor bodies were able to operate. Clearly, this makes forward planning easier for the institutions."

But the figures are unlikely to impress the unions - which say funding levels already leave colleges with insufficient money to bridge the pay gap with schools.

Peter Pendle, general secretary of the Association for College Management, said: "We welcome the announcement of the funding for 20034. But the campaign for additional funding will continue."

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