From education to employment

College leaders demand implementation of Post-18 Education Review

Today (Thursday 27 June), Angela Joyce, chief executive of WCG (formerly known as Warwickshire College Group) joined 202 further education college leaders by demanding the implementation of the Augar report into post-18 education and funding. 

In an unprecedented move, the leaders of every general further education college in England have joined forces to write an open letter to the Chancellor and Secretary of State for Education urging them to “answer the calls from business” and respond to the “challenges of technological change and Brexit”  by urgently investing in the country’s technical and vocational education system by implementing its main recommendations. 


The 203 leaders are responsible for institutions that educate and train two million people each year, employing 180,000 staff and they have a combined turnover of £6 billion per annum.


The Augar Review called for, amongst other things, an end to the 17.5% cut in education funding for 18-year olds, support so that everybody, regardless of age, to achieve to at least level three, and a rebalancing of the traditional post-18 educational landscape.

Chaired by the banker Philip Augar, the report suggested ideas to provide better value for money in higher and further education. Its core message was that the disparity between the fifty percent of young people attending higher education and fifty percent who do not, needs to be addressed. 

The report stated that doing so is ‘a matter of fairness and equity and is likely to bring considerable economic benefits to individuals and the country at large’.

Key extracts from the letter:

“[The Post-18 Review] understands that employers and communities need more high quality technical and professional education and training, industry standard facilities, expert staff and the unique curriculum that colleges already provide.  It sees colleges as the key vehicle for the flexible, local delivery of national strategies, supporting industrial policy, productivity, skills development and genuine social equity. It clearly acknowledges that all this requires real investment.”


“In many respects the Augar Review represents a wider emerging consensus across England. We are sure that you will agree with us and other key stakeholders that further education colleges have been neglected, and that there is now a growing appreciation of their unique role, value and potential. What we now need are decisions and commitments: with your political leadership, support and resolve, colleges will be able to build on what they already do to reach more employers and more adults and make the differences our economy and society need. “

CEO of WCG, Angela Joyce stated:

“The Report contains a number of very significant recommendations which could positively influence adult education and upskilling across our region and the country as a whole. In my view there are a number of key recommendations in the report which I believe should be considered immediately. 

“These include improving higher technical skills through improving the status of level 4/5 qualifications and introducing a lifelong learning allowance for tuition at levels 4, 5 and 6, improving access to adult education by simplifying the funding rules, and increasing the funding rate for the most economically valuable adult courses. 

“I also believe it is essential to improve support for those more socio-economically disadvantaged through restoring maintenance grants for students at higher levels and providing bursaries and support for students studying at levels 2 and 3 as part of the national upskilling requirement.”

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