Responding to the Institute for Fiscal Studies 2020 annual report on education spending in England, that has found colleges face significant funding shortfalls and heightened uncertainty due to COVID challenges, AoC's Chief Executive, David Hughes said:
“The report from IFS is a stark reminder of the continued challenges that exist in our further education and skills system. Post-16 and adult education experienced significant real-terms spending cuts in the last decade. Treasury started to address this with added £400 million to the 16-18 budget in 2020-1 but as IFS notes this is for one year only and will be largely absorbed by the substantial rise in student numbers because of the population increase and lack of alternatives for young people.
Unlike in HE, increases in student numbers are not funded in-year. That works well in a stable environment, but this year many colleges have had big increases in student numbers which they cannot afford without additional funding. At the same time FE colleges have also lost income from fees, employers and international activities and have to use what’s left on measures to keep students and staff safe during the pandemic.
With the spending review just weeks away and the FE white paper shortly after that, there is real opportunity to put college funding back to the level it should be to not only improve opportunities for young people and adults but also to help build the resilience and financial security of colleges to face up to what is undoubtedly the toughest year on record."
You can read the full report here.