Managing colleges' financial sustainability report published by Public Accounts Committee - AoC responds

27 Jan 2021

Responding to the Public Accounts Committees' report of colleges' financial sustainability, Chief Executive, David Hughes said:

“The report today from the Public Accounts Committee is a useful reminder of the financial situation many colleges are operating in during this crisis and whilst they are seeing more demand, particularly from young people. The Covid-19 crisis has stopped any college sector financial improvement in its tracks and created large financial challenges for colleges this year. However, many issues stem further back than this, including rising pension costs, 16-18 VAT rules that subsidise small sixth form colleges, increased demand from students for support of their mental health and well-being and a funding system not designed for such uncertain times.  

The report is right to say that DfE needs a long-term plan for the further education sector. The recently published White Paper is a good step forwards towards that and offers opportunity to tackle some of these long standing issues, improve colleges’ resilience and hopefully simplify oversight arrangements. It has the potential to put colleges on a firmer footing but we also need long-term spending review commitments that match its ambition.”

You can read the full report here.