First investment in 16-19 in over a decade - AoC response

31 Aug 2019

On 31 August, Sajid Javid, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, announced he will be investing £400 million in education for 16 to 19-year-olds. 

David Hughes, AoC Chief Executive said

“Colleges have been overlooked and underfunded for far too long. Today’s announcement of an additional £400 million marks the first meaningful investment in further education for 16 to 19-year-olds for more than ten years. It’s not enough to reverse the decade of cuts, nor to properly stabilise the sector for the future, but it is a good start. 

I am delighted that the government has listened to college leaders, college staff, MPs, businesses, students and stakeholders, all of whom have made it clear that they want more investment in colleges. The announcement today will start to invest more in our young people with a long overdue increase in the base funding rate for 16- and 17-year-olds. This will help support the world-class education and training which colleges provide to help our young people to succeed. 

We believe that an announcement about funding to cover higher Teacher’s Pension Scheme costs will come separately and look forward to seeing the detail of that. Recent changes to pensions means colleges are locked into schemes which take a rising share of their budgets with no additional support in funding currently.

Both the Chancellor and the Prime Minister have spoken regularly about the importance of our colleges, and the need to properly invest in them and today they have started to honour that commitment. However adult education was notably absent, with the number of adults in further education almost halving in the last decade, funding is urgently needed to boost opportunities to retrain and tackle skills shortages. 

I am optimistic that more investment will follow next year when the spending review will be able to set out a longer term settlement to support thriving and vibrant colleges for the long term. We will continue to work with government, and campaign with partners to make sure that colleges continue to be a serious political, economic and social priority. That means long-term, sustainable funding, and a robust lifelong learning system. 

Schools received a three-year commitment that allows them the chance to plan and deliver – we’ll be pushing government to do the same for colleges in next year’s spending review.”