93 MPs sign letter urging Chancellor to boost sixth form funding in Wednesday's spending round 

A cross-party group of 93 MPs has signed a letter to Chancellor Sajid Javid urging him to boost education funding for 16 to 18 year olds.

The letter was sent following this week’s announcement that a fast-tracked spending round will take place on Wednesday.  

Signatories include Robert Halfon, chair of the education select committee and several former Conservative ministers.

The letter has also been signed by Liberal Democrat education spokesperson Layla Moran, Labour’s shadow education minister Tracy Brabin, and the Green Party’s Caroline Lucas

The MPs - who all have a school sixth form, sixth form college or FE college in their constituency - urge the Chancellor to “prioritise investment in 16 to 18 education in the forthcoming spending round.”

They use the recent survey by the Raise the Rate campaign to highlight the impact of funding pressures on students and conclude that, “The underinvestment in sixth form education is bad for students, bad for social mobility and bad for the economy”.

The MPs press the Chancellor to implement the first recommendation in A ten-year plan for school and college funding - the report published by the Education Committee in July - which is to “urgently address underfunding in further education by increasing the base rate from £4,000 to at least £4,760, rising in line with inflation.”

They write that raising the rate to this level “… is the only way to ensure that schools and colleges can increase student services to minimum required levels, protect minority subjects and reverse the decline in extra-curricular activities and work experience.”

The MPs conclude that government investment must go beyond technical education “The additional funding proposed for T levels is welcome, but will have no impact on the vast majority of young people who study A levels or applied general qualifications.”

Rt Hon Robert Halfon MP, Chair of the Education Committee said:     “It is extraordinary that 16 to 18 education has for so long been starved of cash. Funding this age group properly must sit at the heart of a ten-year plan and be a major priority in the forthcoming spending round. I am delighted that so many MPs have used the letter to support the Education Committee’s recommendation to raise the rate of funding to at least £4,760 per student, rising in line with inflation.”

James Kewin from the Sixth Form Colleges Association, who is co-ordinating the Raise the Rate campaign, said: “We are grateful to all the MPs that signed this letter in support of the Raise the Rate campaign - particularly at such short notice and during recess. Next week’s spending round is a golden opportunity for the government to address the funding crisis in sixth form education, and ensure that colleges and schools receive the funding they need to provide every 16 to 18 year old with a high quality education”. 

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 Julian Gravatt, Deputy Chief Executive, AoC, said:

“It is great that so many MPs and those on the Education Select Committee have signed this letter. An increase in base rate funding for 16 – 18 year olds is essential after a seven year freeze. Colleges and schools need to be able to properly support the million young people they serve. Next week is an opportunity for the government to address the current underfunding and support these young people to progress through their education.”

Letter in full

Rt Hon Sajid Javid MP
Chancellor of the Exchequer
HM Treasury
1 Horse Guards Road
London
SW1A 2HQ
29th August 2019

Dear Sajid,

We are writing to you as MPs with school sixth forms, sixth form colleges and FE colleges in our constituencies to ask that you prioritise investment in 16 to 18 education in the forthcoming spending round. 

The Institute for Fiscal Studies reports that education funding for 16 to 18 year olds “has seen the biggest squeeze of all stages of education for young people in recent years”. This is having a serious impact on students.

A recent survey of schools and colleges for the Raise the Rate campaign found that:

  • 78% have reduced student support services or extra-curricular activities as a result of funding pressures – with significant cuts to mental health support, employability skills and careers advice
  • 51% of schools and colleges have dropped courses in modern foreign languages, with A levels in German, French and Spanish the main casualties
  • 38% have dropped STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths) courses

The underinvestment in sixth form education is bad for students, bad for social mobility and bad for the economy. A central aim of the Industrial Strategy is to help young people to develop the skills they need to do the high-paid, high-skilled jobs of the future. The post-Brexit economy will be driven by leaders, scientists, technicians, engineers and others that will all pass through the pivotal phase of 16 to 18 education, so we must ensure that it is properly funded.

We urge you to use the spending review to implement the first recommendation in A ten-year plan for school and college funding - the report published by the Education Committee in July - which is to “urgently address underfunding in further education by increasing the base rate from £4,000 to at least £4,760, rising in line with inflation.”

This is the only way to ensure that schools and colleges can increase student services to minimum required levels, protect minority subjects and reverse the decline in extra-curricular activities and work experience. The additional funding proposed for T levels is welcome, but will have no impact on the vast majority of young people who study A levels or applied general qualifications.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Yours sincerely

Alex Cunningham

Laura Smith

Alex Norris

Layla Moran

Alex Sobel

Lilian Greenwood

Andy Slaughter

Rt Hon Sir Lindsay Hoyle

Anne Marie Morris

Lisa Nandy

Ben Bradley

Lloyd Russell-Moyle

Bob Blackman

Louise Haigh

Caroline Lucas

Lucy Powell

Rt Hon Caroline Nokes

Rt Hon Dame Margaret Hodge

Conor McGinn

Marie Rimmer

Damien Moore

Mark Hendrick

Daniel Kawczynski

Marsha De Cordova

Daniel Zeichner

Melanie Onn

Darren Jones

Mike Amesbury

Sir David Amess

Neil O'Brien

Sir David Crausby

Neil Parish

Dr David Drew

Nic Dakin

Rt Hon David Lammy

Rt Hon Norman Lamb

Debbie Abrahams

Paul Farrelly

Diana Johnson

Dr Paul Williams

Eleanor Smith

Peter Kyle

Emma Reynolds

Phillip Davies

Faisal Rashid

Preet Kaur Gill

Gareth Thomas

Rachael Maskell

Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown

Robert Goodwill

Sir George Howarth

Rt Hon Robert Halfon

Gill Furniss

Roberta Blackman-Woods

Gloria De Piero

Rosie Cooper

Sir Graham Brady

Rosie Duffield

Heidi Allen

Royston Smith

Helen Goodman

Ruth Cadbury

Helen Hayes

Sarah Champion

Huw Merriman

Sarah Newton

Ian Liddell-Grainger

Stephen Lloyd

Ian Mearns

Stephen Morgan

James Frith

Steve Brine

James Gray

Suella Braverman

Jeff Smith

Thelma Walker

Jenny Chapman

Tim Loughton

Jeremy Lefroy

Tracy Brabin

Jim McMahon

Vernon Coaker

Jonathan Lord

Vicky Foxcroft

Julia Lopez

Wera Hobhouse

Kate Green

Wes Streeting

Rt Hon Keith Vaz

William Wragg

Kelvin Hopkins

Yvonne Fovargue

Kerry McCarthy

 

cc.
Rishi Sunak MP, Chief Secretary to the Treasury
Rt Hon Gavin Williamson CBE MP, Secretary of State for Education

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