From education to employment

Ed Balls confirms extra 2,300 post-16 places

Colleges and schools facing soaring demand have been granted funding for at least 2,300 extra places for post-16 learners.

Ed Balls, the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families, says this will come on top of the 55,000 extra places already confirmed in Budget 2009.

"This funding demonstrates our commitment to the school leaver’s guarantee. We are continuing to invest in young people to ensure that in the current tough economic climate we do not abandon a generation of young people, as happened in recessions of the past," says Mr Balls.

"I have said all along that it is possible even more 16–18-year-olds may choose to stay on than we were expecting and I want to make sure all school leavers who choose to stay on in learning are able to, so that they can get jobs when we are through the recession."

Martin Freedman, head of pay, conditions and pensions at the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL), cautiously welcomed the confirmed £11m for extra places, saying it helped "reflect the reality that schools and colleges have more applicants in the recession but lacked adequate funding".

However, Mr Freedman pointed to "important questions as to whether this £11m will be sufficient to provide places for all the over-16s who want to stay in education amid record levels of youth unemployment, and from which education budget the £11m is being cut".

In response to the increasing demand from 16-18 year old learners as a result of the economic downturn, the Government has asked the Association of Colleges and Association of School and College Leaders to help the Learning and Skills Council monitor recruitment for this academic year. A report on their findings is expected later this week.

(Pictured: Ed Balls, Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families) 

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