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Read the Final Installment of Sudakshina Mukherjee’s Report on Pathfinder Costing

In conclusion to the report, there are several types of findings that have appeared.

Firstly, collaborative partnerships facilitating the development and delivery of new courses and programmes, which enhance the learning experience for young people, and by their very nature, are costly. Secondly, “start-up” costs do exist and need to be paid more attention to, as they can be short-term, medium-term or even long-term in nature.

Thirdly, there are additional costs associated with the development of new programmes or provisions, which may be considered as one-off development costs, which do not need to be sustained over time. Fourthly, the report hopes for more cost-efficient uses of the fund allocated for collaborative partnerships to practice. Yet, having said this, the report also finds that due to the nature of the partnerships, there will always be additional costs which go over and above the core funding, for example transport, additional student support, specialist equipment and facilities, and so on.

Working Together in a Brave New World?

More importantly is this finding, “the notion of working collaboratively to manage processes and deliver provision to young people is relatively new and hence the most cost effective ways of managing the processes are still under development.” Moreover, it continues “at this stage cost efficiency is minimal, since many cost savings are offset by additional costs such as transport and specialist equipment required for the courses undertaken.

“Over time, cost efficiencies may be developed, though the focus should remain on real partnership working and widening opportunities for all young people.” Due to the complex nature of collaborative partnerships, the report finds “There is no one model which can represent the costs to a Pathfinder of collaborative working,”, therefore, “no one total cost of collaborative working.”

The Roles of Funding

Funding has played four important roles in collaboration: to kickstart collaborative working; to manage ongoing collaboration; to develop innovative approaches to collaborative working; to develop and deliver a broader curriculum through collaborative practices. The report also offers different means for increasing funding, such as the use of multiple funding streams, (although it realises this creates uncertainty); transferring costs to individual partners; rationalizing management structures, the curriculum itself; seeking more cost-efficient ways of managing collaborative working.

Finally, in keeping with the context of the 14-19 White Paper and the subsequent Green Paper on “Youth Matters” in mind, the report states that “the findings presented in this report are “indicative”; collaborative working is costly and due to the nature of what it is trying to achieve, there will always be some additional costs; the uncertainty of funding sources and dependence of Pathfinders on multiple funding streams may be hindering future planning; the evidence collected, and analysis presented, provides a clear basis from which funding models and mechanisms can be developed.”

Sudakshina Mukherjee

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