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Government responds to “Increase college funding to sustainable levels – all students deserve equality!” petition

Valentine’s card handover at the Treasury

The Government has responded to the petition – “Increase college funding to sustainable levels – all students deserve equality!”.

Government responded:

A sustainable plan for further education funding needs to be determined through the Spending Review, informed by the review of post-18 education, and consideration of the needs of the FE sector.

This government is aware of the funding pressures in Further Education and is currently assessing the funding and sustainability of colleges.

However, we think it would be premature to make a short-term increase in further education funding without a sustainable plan for future funding via the next Spending Review. In order to inform any requests we make via the Spending Review, we are looking closely at how we fund providers to ensure the system supports sustainable, high quality education, and it will also be important to take account of the Review of Post -18 Education and Funding.

Although we are not making an immediate increase in college funding levels we are planning to invest nearly £7 billion this academic year to make sure there is a place in education or training, including for apprenticeships, for every 16- to 19-year-old. We have also protected the base rate of funding for 16-19 year olds until 2020. We will introduce our new gold standard T Levels from 2020, and will provide an additional £500m every year once they are fully rolled out.

In addition, we have announced extra support for key priorities. We will provide additional funding to support institutions to grow participation in level 3 maths – an extra £600 for every additional student – with two payments of £600 if, for example, they are studying A level maths over two years. The first of these payments will be made in 2019/20. We have also approved £470m of Restructuring Facility Funding for colleges, of which £150m has been spent so far.

Alongside our investment in 16-19 education and training, the Department for Education was allocated £1.5 billion for the Adult Education Budget (AEB) for each year of the Spending Review period up to 2020, as set out in the 2015 Spending Review.

We recently announced a pay settlement for school teachers and a specific grant to support this. However, FE colleges and sixth form colleges have a different status when compared with schools and academies, as private sector institutions independent of the government. Therefore, we are considering the needs of FE providers separately.

We will continue to look carefully at funding for Further Education in preparation for the next Spending Review.

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