From education to employment

Part One of the Analysis of the Costing Report on Pathfinder

A report on the key findings of a costing study focused on the 14-19 Pathfinders Initiative was also published along with this year’s evaluative report.

The purpose of the study was to establish the costs associated with the collaborative development and delivery of 14-19 Pathfinders, particularly: the costs that arise as a result of working collaboratively rather than individually, e.g, partnership management, communication, timetabling costs; specific development and delivery costs for new collaborative programmes and provision, including for example, course development costs, teaching costs and support costs.

The Phased Approach

The research was done in two broad phases, where: “Phase One involved case study work with 15 Pathfinders to gain an understanding of the types of cost that might occur in the delivery of collaborative working; for each type of cost, estimates of the actual costs incurred by the 15 pathfinders; and the factors that influence the level of cost incurred.”

The report continues: “Phase Two has involved an analysis of the information obtained from the 15 Pathfinders in order to provide: indicative estimates of the likely costs associated with collaborative working; case study examples of the costs associated with the development and delivery of collaborative provision; qualitative analysis of key issues and findings in relation to the costs of developing and sustaining collaborative delivery of 14-19 learning opportunities.”

The report outlines that “this is the first time that a detailed costing study of collaborative working has been undertaken. As a result, the findings provide new and important information about the types of cost, influencing factors and likely cost levels associated with collaborative delivery.” It is hoped that this will prove useful for informing future decision-making, particularly in relation to the development of plans to meet the objectives and proposals set out in the 14-19 White Paper and subsequent Green Paper “Youth Matters.”

Scope Limitations

The report also notes that the depth of the analysis has been curbed due to “the wide-ranging scope, variability and complexity of collaborative activities and the different ways in which costs have been estimated and presented.” These are the reasons the report states for providing indicative- and not absolute- estimates for the likely average costs of generic collaborative working and for it not being possible to establish indicative estimates of the costs for the development and delivery of collaborative provision.

Therefore, case studies have been used instead present the likely costs, in a hypothetical context. The report also finds that it was not possible to take account of the quality or success of working collaboratively and so costs may be higher or lower, depending on how they are affected by this.

Starting Through the Figures

Coming to the figures now, the report states that “the actual annual cost estimates provided by the 15 pathfinders for generic collaborative working vary from £61,832 to £832,300. The key factors which appear to influence this variability include: size of the pathfinder; scale of activities; scope of activities (e.g. the range of stakeholders who need to be involved); culture of the Pathfinder and its approach to collaborative working; current skills and capabilities of the Pathfinder partners.”

According to some of the indicative cost results estimates, a small partnership has £198,000(1 college, 8 schools, 1,400 young people) and a large one has £476,000 (7 colleges, 27 schools, 7,100 young people). The report finds that the “generic” costs incurred by a partnership looks like this: “management and communication (£62,560 for a small partnership to £238,930 for a large partnership); administration (£32,350 to £62,428);monitoring and evaluation (£16,900); consulting/engaging others (£4,140); engaging employers (varies dependent on nature of activities ““ e.g. £7,000 for a survey of local employers); work experience / placement coordination (£14,850 to £29,700); staff development (varies dependent on nature of activities ““ e.g. £165 per staff member per session); transport coordination (£0 to £12,790); e-learning and ICT (£4,075); IAG (£62,750).”

The report also finds that some partnerships need to have funds allocated to “start-up” and that to conduct employers” business breakfasts and making joint prospectuses requires money, which has not been allocated for. The key types of cost that are being incurred for the development of collaborative provision include: “developing learning materials; curriculum planning; development of new programmes / courses.”

Sudakshina Mukherjee

Stay at FE News for part two of the Pathfinder costing report!

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