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'Uphold our freedoms and give us fairer funding' say colleges

The Association of Colleges has launched its pre-election manifesto, calling for the next government to uphold college freedoms and to give the sector fairer funding.

Presenting the document at its annual conference in Birmingham, the AoC’s president Richard Atkins said the main message for politicians was that “colleges work”.

“They work for students, employers and communities, so invest in them so we can create the best vocational and technical system of all OECD economies,” he said.

The manifesto contains ten ‘asks’ of the post-2015 election government, including fairer 16-18 funding, better careers education, a new pre-apprenticeship programme to replace traineeships, new powers for FE colleges to award higher technical and professional certificates.

Mr Atkins said the AoC achieved seven of its ten ‘asks’ from its manifesto for the 2010 election. “We learnt we need to offer solutions, not just present problems,” he said.

Asking for money with no strings attached was no longer an option, he added.

With skills one of the key poriorities for all political parties, Mr Atkins said it was important colleges retained their autonomy to react to the national agenda as well as to meet local needs.

Read more on the AoC in the 21 November edition of TES on your tablet or phone or by downloading the TES Reader app, or pick it up at all good newsagents.

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