Responding to Gavin Williamson’s announcement that the Government will set a target to “overtake Germany in the opportunities we offer to those studying technical routes by 2029”, Liberal Democrat Shadow Education Secretary Layla Moran MP said:
“Gavin Williamson’s new target is big on ambition for technical education, but scant on the detail of how we get there.
“The Conservatives have left our colleges underfunded and unloved. The money announced in the Spending Round was over £1 billion short of what is needed to get per-student funding back up to 2010 levels in real terms. Meanwhile, students are being taught fewer subjects for fewer hours and class sizes are going up.
“Liberal Democrats will invest in every young person, no matter how and where they study. Our colleges should have the same funding levels, support and status as our secondary schools.
“If Gavin Williamson wants a revolution in technical education, he could start by making sure that colleges can budget for the basics.”
At the Liberal Democrat Conference earlier this month, their party members passed a motion committing the Liberal Democrats to an investment package for 16-19 education worth over £1 billion, including:
- Significantly increasing 16-19 education funding at the next spending review, setting out a timetable to raise by 2022 the core funding rate for full-time students aged 16-19 to match that of secondary school pupils
- Extending the pupil premium to students aged 16-19, with a proportion of the funding to be paid directly to students to support them with travel and other education-related costs
- Reimbursing all sixth form and further education colleges for the VAT they pay whilst providing publicly funded courses, irrespective of whether they have converted into an academy;
- Extending the Teachers’ Pay Grant to further education colleges and sixth form colleges to enable them to fund a pay rise for teaching staff.