03 July 2012
Julian Gravatt, assistant chief executive, Association of Colleges, said: “The new 16-19 funding programme as laid out by the Department for Education represents a significant shift in how Colleges will be paid for the work they do. It is difficult at this point to be precise about the impact of the changes as the announcement contains few figures. Many of our members will now be keen to see more details so that they can make sensible decisions for 2013-14.
“There are advantages in simplifying the formula because this could improve efficiency and transparency, but we need to be wary of over-simplification. The shift to a single full-time funding rate creates an obvious risk that Colleges will not have enough money to provide a broad course programme for those trying to enter selective universities.
“We therefore welcome the guarantee that the new formula will not lead to additional cuts in funding per student as a result of these changes this side of 2015 and the decision to do more work on large programmes. At a time when the 16-18 education budget is being cut, it is right to introduce these sorts of changes in stages.
“The DfE has also linked funding to proficiency in Maths and English in line with its commitment to raising standards in these subjects. If a student does not have a grade C, or above, in either of these subjects they will be expected to resit them, while continuing their education. Those students who do not do so will not be eligible for funding. This is a new condition and one which needs working through.
“Our members will be studying the new documents and funding formulae carefully in the coming days to establish what impact it will have on their funding stream and their ability to provide high quality education to students across a range of social strata, economic backgrounds, and interests.”
Mark Bramwell, Associate Director of Sixth Form Colleges, at the Association of Colleges said: “Our member Sixth Form Colleges (SFCs) are relieved to see the Formula Protection Funding and some simplification of data returns, however the test for SFCs is whether the proposals help or hinder their particular contribution to post-16 education.
“We have already seen the reduction of entitlement funding, which damages the delivery of the broader non-qualification experience that is such a distinctive part of SFC life. SFCs have high achievement, which was rewarded by the Success Factor in the existing formula, but will now disappear.
“SFCs have been hugely successful in terms of social mobility and one reason for this has been the large Programmes of Study. This has met the needs of those students aspiring to top universities and jobs. Naturally SFCs are concerned at the cap on funding for these programmes which could potentially undermine excellent work.”