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Survey reveals 75% of colleges have scrapped courses over funding difficulties

George Layfield, UK sales manager at Capita Further and Higher Education

Three quarters of colleges have scrapped courses because of funding difficulties, according to a survey published by Capita Further and Higher Education, the management systems supplier.

The report highlights how colleges are struggling to get to grips with funding formulas that have become increasingly complicated following the demise of the Learning and Skills Council.

The introduction of new funding pathways via the Young People’s Learning Agency, Skills Funding Agency and Local Authorities, which began two months ago, have added to the complexities faced by colleges. Many are finding it difficult to achieve an equilibrium between forecasting what support they will receive and planning the curriculum, resulting in 23% cutting more than six courses a year.

“Funding formulas are by nature complex as they need to take into account so many variables with regards to the sort of course on offer and who is being trained,” said George Layfield, UK sales manager at Capita Further and Higher Education.

“If you make them simpler, you run the risk of making them less fair. However, this survey reveals that because of the complexities, colleges struggle to predict what funding they will receive and therefore what courses they can afford to run.”

The survey also reveals 78% of colleges believe the new funding regime will not achieve its aim of streamling the system, with 77% concerned that the involvement of Local Authorities will result in consistency issues.

Mr Layfield added: “When a difference of just two or three percent in funding is all it takes to topple colleges from being financially viable to financially crippled, it is a formula colleges cannot afford to get wrong.

“Colleges must ensure they have the tools they need to precisely perform this delicate balancing act and to help them adapt to any further funding changes which come from the government.”

Jason Rainbow

(Pictured:  George Layfield, UK sales manager at Capita Further and Higher Education)

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