AoC's Autumn Budget recommendations (22 September 2017)

Published: 22 Sep 2017


AoC returned a 29 page paper to the HM Treasury with some proposals for the Autumn 2017 Budget. AoC's paper is available here in Word and PDF format.

AoC's paper argues that the Government will need to spend more on 16 to 18-year-olds to give them the start in life they deserve and to match the academic and technical training of our OECD competitors. The Department for Education (DfE) also needs to build a system for adults that encourages lifelong learning and tackles basic skills. DfE should also ensure money is used efficiently, to tackle the waste that arises in small sixth forms and to review its approach to GCSE resits. The strong emphasis on skills in the Industrial Strategy now needs investment so that colleges can deliver and there needs to be some refinements of policy towards apprenticeships and higher education. We have 15 overall recommendations which we explain in more detail in the rest of this paper.

The paper makes 15 specific recommendations for policies that support the national goals of sustaining inclusive economic growth and developing a fair and effective education system:

Increased investment in skills to support the Government’s Industrial Strategy

  1. HM Treasury should set a target to increase public spending on education to 5% of GDP by 2025.
  2. Skills should be a major part of the national Industrial Strategy with a plan that covers the Shared Productivity Fund, devolution, the national retraining scheme and a citizen’s skill entitlement

A fair funding formula for schools, colleges and universities

  1. DfE should introduce an immediate £200 per student uplift in funding in 2018-19 to improve the education and support offered to 16-19 students.  
  2. DfE should conduct a review of 16-19 funding to ensure it is linked to the realistic costs of delivering a rounded, high-quality curriculum.
  3. In the implementation of the technical education reforms, DfE should ensure there is adequate funding for the transition year and for three years of study for those who need it.
  4. DfE should invest in proven methods to achieve the goal of English and maths standards by age 19 and review funding levels to ensure they are sufficient for the task. 
  5. DfE should simplify the overly complex high needs funding system to provide more clarity and certainty for young people with learning difficulties and disabilities and their families. 
  6. DfE’s scheduled review of higher, further and technical education funding should ensure that the student loan system provides good incentives and support for young people and adults while distributing public money efficiently.

A period of stability to build quality apprenticeships

  1. DfE should earmark up to 25% of apprenticeship levy funds to ensure access, quality and progression. In the short-term, any underspend in the 2017-18 financial year should be used for these purposes.
  2. DfE should develop a long-term supply strategy to ensure there are strong organisations able to confidently invest in their apprenticeship training and technical education.

Building strong colleges and institutions

  1. The restructuring fund should be available to colleges after March 2019, include grants as well as loans and involve a shorter application process.
  2. DfE should allocate capital funding to improve the college estate to support the technical education reforms and to create the additional education places that will be needed after 2020.
  3. DfE’s Schools Commissioner group should carry out targeted reviews of school sixth forms and university technical colleges to ensure financial sustainability and offer quality and breadth. 

Support for people to access education and training

  1. The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) should extend child benefit and other social security payments to young people taking apprenticeships, in line with those who stay in other forms of education up to the age of 18
  2. The Department for Transport (DfT) should support local authorities to invest in support for transport up to age 18 as part of the contribution to the Industrial Strategy