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College cuts are ‘unjust and unsustainable’, says AoC

Cuts to 16-18 college funding are “unjust and unsustainable”, according to the president of the Association of Colleges (AoC).

Speaking at the AoC’s annual conference in Birmingham today, Richard Atkins said the government is misguided for viewing early years in education as the most important.

“16-19 is a key developmental phase,” he warned.

“It’s when so many young people start to choose their career path for the future. Students aged 16 to 18 are being shortchanged. The cuts that have been made are unjust and unsustainable … So, let’s have fairness. Let’s have a level playing field and let’s review how we divide up our limited resources fairly between schools, colleges and universities.”

The AoC is calling on the government to review its spending policies to make it fair across all age groups, pointing to a 22% decrease in the funding paid for a 16-year-old studying GCSEs, and the funding for that same student when studying A Levels.

It has launched a manifesto that has 10 recommendations aimed at supporting student choice, establishing a sustainable economic recovery through education and training, and creating a fair and effective education system.

“As a colleges sector, we demonstrated our unity and our strength when we lobbied against the unexpected and iniquitous 18+ funding cut last December,” said Mr Atkins.

“Between now and 7 May next year, we need to argue our case, on behalf of our students and staff, with the same urgency and energy.”

Natalie Thornhill

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