As the Spring Statement drawing ever closer, colleges are being encouraged to highlight the urgent need for improved college funding.
The Association of Colleges will be ramping up activity over the coming weeks to stress the importance of improved college support if the UK is to achieve the level of productivity required for a successful economy.
AoC President Steve Frampton has set colleges a Social Media Challenge. In that, he has urged them to showcase how central they are to the success of local and national economies by:
- taking wonderful pictures of students learning or training and realising their career ambitions
- uploading them onto social media channels, tagging AoC (@aoc_info), the local MP(s), and local newspaper
- using captions to promote students and their future roles in the economy
- Using the hashtag #LoveOurColleges
- Engaging college alumni to take and share some photos too.
The aim of the challenge is to make the Treasury aware of the great work colleges are undertaking but also to highlight the need for increased funding if this provision is to continue to be delivered at a high level.
Last year, Ofsted Chief Inspector Amanda Spielman backed the funding cause in a letter to the Public Accounts Committee where she outlined the risks to cuts on post-16 education, urging for it to be addressed in this year’s spending review. Over the last decade, colleges have had to deal with an average 30% funding cut, whilst costs have increased dramatically. This has resulted in a drastic drop in learning opportunities for adults, fewer hours of teaching and support for young people, and teacher pay at less than 80% of schools and support staff seeing no increase in pay for several years. This situation is not sustainable and ultimately impacts upon students, businesses, communities and the wider economy. AoC is continuing to work in partnership with NUS and the education unions to campaign for investment in further education, through the Love Our Colleges campaign.
AoC has also recently launched a series of new resources aimed at helping colleges engage better with stakeholders and decision-makers. For more information on the Love Our Colleges campaign, go to www.collegesweek.co.uk.