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Prioritise and fund the ABS and enrichment activity over a new National Service scheme, says AoC

30 May 2024

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Julian Gravatt, Deputy Chief Executive, Association of Colleges, said:

“Our work supporting Youth Social Action in colleges and recent report, Valuing Enrichment, shows that structured activities outside education leading to qualifications make a real difference.

“The general shift away from locally delivered, accessible, inclusive enrichment and youth services isn’t right as a point of principle. It’s much better to offer enrichment opportunities in places that young people already know and trust and it’s much more cost-effective to invest in existing infrastructure, programmes and staff. We have called for funding for college enrichment to be ring-fenced, to ensure that all young people have equal access to such activities.

“The Prime Minster has shown that he appreciates the need to invest in young people with his proposals for the new Advanced British Standard. However, those plans are not fully costed, and we know that we need significantly more funding in FE, both to increase the number of contact hours 16 to 18-year-olds receive and FE teacher pay, to make those plans a reality.

“Therefore, until the ABS and enrichment activity is fully funded in FE, putting money into a new national service scheme should not take priority."

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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.