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Government must make college funding more fair

14 December 2017

Responding to a report by the Institute for Fiscal Studies on education funding, David Hughes, Chief Executive of the Association of Colleges, said: “The Office for Fiscal Studies (IFS) report highlights why we have called for fair funding for colleges. It shows that education for 16 to 18-year-olds has been the biggest loser in funding over the last 25 years and colleges support 744,000 of them. It is not acceptable that this section of the education budget is the only one that is unprotected and has therefore borne the brunt of funding cuts. “The funding system for education must be fairer. In addition to dedicating more funding into education overall, the Government must review how that money is divided across all age groups. It is disappointing that the IFS did not focus on the decimating cuts to adult education budgets, which are also a major barrier to supporting adults who need new and often higher level skills to fill the jobs available. “The biggest losers, of course, are 16 to 18-year-olds who miss out on the breadth, depth and support that they deserve as they make the daunting journey from childhood into adulthood. As the Government’s Industrial Strategy highlighted, they’re only funded for 17 hours a week, compared with 30 in Shanghai. Under those circumstances it is difficult to give them the education and training they need and our economy needs to compete with other nations. “Colleges are on the front-line of this under-investment, and yet are critical to delivering the solutions. With the likely skills gaps created by Brexit we simply cannot afford to have this part of education underfunded.”