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Edexcel tells FE News why rising post-16 learners poses a double-edged sword

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The number of learners staying on into post-16 has risen above expectations in the last year. Many things have attributed to this growth including the effects of the credit-crunch, new qualifications such as the Diploma and the impact of incentives such as EMA.

Whatever the reason, the important thing to remember is that more and more young people are choosing to stay in further education. However, this has in turn caused some problems with funding. The DCSF recently told its’ schools and colleges that they would not be fully funded next year for the 16 year olds they enrol. So the increase in learners staying on is a double-edged sword.

The DCSF has said that the shortfall was because participation "Increased ahead of our expectations". Due to this, the numbers of 16-year-olds wanting to stay on in full time education next autumn was miscalculated.

Schools will still receive enough funding for 96% of sixth-formers taken on this year and colleges will be funded for 98% of their current student numbers.

This means that schools and colleges expect to have more than 30,000 extra, unfunded learners. It is essential that the Government continue to support these students and they have said that "We are still working across Government on the extra financial support we need to provide for the new learners that are coming forward".

In times of recession, education and training become increasingly important. It is vital therefore that the Government supports the education system as much as necessary and we in turn do what we can to ensure a reliable, supportive education and examination system for all learners pre and post-16.

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