Sixth-form equality pledge

10th July 1998 at 01:00
SIXTH-FORM colleges should get equal funding with schools and other FE colleges, Margaret Hodge, chair of the Commons education and employment select committee said this week.

Ms Hodge's comments fuelled hopes that sixth-form colleges will benefit from the Pounds 9 billion that is expected to be injecting into education over three years following the Government's comprehensive spending review due to be announced next week.

Grant-maintained schools received more than Pounds 7,000 for each pupil studying three A-levels she said, compared with about Pounds 6,600 for sixth-form colleges and Pounds 6,400 for general FE colleges.

This had created problems attracting and retaining high-quality staff, she told a London conference. "Unless colleges gain parity of funding with schools they will be unable to attract and keep the best teachers and their students will suffer. That is why my committee recommended that funding for full-time 16-19 students should be harmonised."

Peter Daley, chair of the Sixth-Form College Employers' Forum and principal of Pendleton sixth-form college in Salford, said: "If the Government acts on the select committee's report, colleges will return to being properly funded and being able to do their job properly."

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