Loaded largesse

9th October 2009 at 01:00

Your article last week on additional funds for colleges and schools that have over-recruited this September ("Rise in student numbers hits college funding", October 2) highlights the difficulties of the current funding system.

Sixth-form colleges are unlikely to benefit. The trigger is a 10 per cent increase over target. Sixth-form colleges range from 700 to 3,000 full- time students, and it would be exceptional to have recruited 75 to 300 over target. The average school sixth form, by contrast, is around 220, so would have to recruit just 22 extra students.

This mechanism will, therefore, have the perverse effect of making a small school sixth form even more inefficient and costly when compared to a sixth-form college. When there is already a funding gap between colleges and schools of 10 to 20 per cent, this is even more frustrating and demonstrably unfair.

The Sixth Form Colleges' Forum welcomed the news that there would be additional funds this year for "significant" over-recruitment. We didn't realise that the mechanism for distributing this largesse would be so unfairly weighted.

David J Igoe, Chief executive, Sixth Form Colleges' Forum.

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