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Welsh mind funding gap

Plans to end the funding gap of pound;1,000 per student between colleges and school sixth forms in Wales have won the backing of fforwm, the association of further education colleges in Wales.

The association is calling for an integrated education system, based on greater collaboration between colleges and schools, to combat "duplicative and inefficient" provision.

John Graystone, fforwm's chief executive, is supporting proposals for a new planning and funding system for the post-16 sector which have been put forward by Education and Learning Wales (ELWa).

He maintains that as FE colleges teach more A-levels than schools in Wales, "it is not a desirable position" for colleges to receive pound;1,000 less in funding per student.

He said: "It is not feasible to underplay the provision supplied by colleges nor is it possible to deny that increased collaboration between schools and colleges will ultimately benefit the learner by increasing the variety of options available."

ELWa's proposals, still to be finalised, follow recommendations from the Education and Training Group review of post-16 provision in Wales.

Dr Graystone added: "Illiteracy levels, the proportion of people in active employment, and GDP all remain lower in Wales than the UK. While the Welsh Assembly has taken steps to address these issues, the ultimate answer lies in increasing participation in post-16 education."

Huw Evans, chair of fforwm, said: "It is important we are able to convey what the sector really offers. We have to show the good work of FE colleges in Wales and the value we add to our students."

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