Skip to main content

AoC responds to EPI’s manifesto analysis

20 June 2024

David Hughes 5

David Hughes, Chief Executive, Association of Colleges, said: "This EPI report shows how little attention has been given to the funding of schools and colleges across the political parties. Funding for young people in the pivotal phase of their education, from age 16 to 19, remains below 2010 levels, resulting in only 15 hours of teaching time per week compared with double that in many OECD countries. Staff pay in colleges lags behind even schools where retention and recruitment are challenging. Capital investment in schools and colleges is vital to ensure learning environments are fit for purpose. Adult opportunities to learn the vital skills they need to remain up to date with a changing labour market have more than halved since 2010.

"It would have been reassuring if these realities had been addressed, along with a stronger narrative about the growing cohort of young people in colleges which will require increased funding over the next five years and an ambition to open up more learning opportunities for adults who want to learn locally and flexibly so that they can gain and remain in good jobs.

“The report shows though that there is more emphasis in this election on boosting vocational education and skills. That is a positive step but it will only be significant if there is increased investment to back up the warm words. Colleges remain central to any ambition to target support towards disadvantaged young people and will be looking to the next government for the resources to help make that a reality for the millions of adults at risk of being left behind in an increasingly digital world and the hundreds of thousands of young people wanting to make the best start in life towards work and further study."

A full A-Z of further education can be found here, and a cheat sheet of key policies and issues in FE can be found here.