Spring Budget 2017 Recommendations

Spring Budget 2017

The Association of Colleges submitted a range of recommendations to the Treasury ahead of the 2017 Spring Budget.

Detailed below are each of our recommendations.

1. HM Treasury should increase spending on education and training to 5% of GDP to introduce fair funding for colleges

HM Treasury should increase spending on education and training from 4.3% now towards 5% of GDP in order to introduce fair funding for colleges which will enable a new technical and professional offer to young people, ensure adults have opportunities to learn and smooth the transition to the new apprenticeship programme.

2. Management of education spending should be reformed

The management of education spending should be reformed to improve efficiency, to allocate funds to areas of greatest need and to provide more predictability.

3. DfE should increase the national base rate for 16 and 18-year-olds

DfE should introduce fair funding for colleges by increasing the national base rate for 16 and 18-year-olds to match the Key Stage 4 rate and extending the pupil premium above the age of 16.

4. Fair funding for colleges would support the full implementation of the Sainsbury Review

Fair funding for colleges would support the full implementation of the Sainsbury Review. To assist this there should be investment in:

  1. a capital budget directed to colleges to improve the equipment for technical education and to create the additional education places that will be needed after 2020
  2. a new workforce development fund to support staff in colleges to develop their industry knowledge as well as their teaching;
  3. a major drive over 10 years to double the supply of maths teachers by 2030
  4. funding for pilots to run as soon as possible to highlight the benefits of the new approach.

5. Financial support for young people should be made available

Financial support for young people should be made available to allow them to participate in the best learning for them - irrespective of transport costs and other needs such as childcare.

6. The Adult Education Budget funding level of £1.5 billion should be reviewed

The Adult Education Budget funding level of £1.5 billion should be reviewed in light of Brexit and be used to guarantee a Citizen’s Skills Entitlement aligned with new personal learning accounts to stimulate learning demand from adults.

7. The Government should guarantee apprenticeship spending between 2017 and 2020

The Government should guarantee apprenticeship spending between 2017 and 2020 (regardless of actual levy collection) while also setting aside funds to promote access and raise quality.

8. VAT should be removed from publicly funded sixth form education

On the day we leave the EU, VAT should be removed from publicly funded sixth form education, and a new English Social Fund should be introduced.

9. DfE should review post-16 provision in schools

DfE should carry out targeted reviews of post-16 provision in schools[1] to ensure they are financially sustainable and offer quality and breadth to young people.

10. DfE should replace the English and maths condition of funding

DfE should replace the English and maths condition of funding with rules that rely on professional judgement of school and college leaders and introduce new English and maths qualifications for professional and technical students.

11. Streamline the process for colleges to apply for restructuring funds

HM Treasury and DfE need to streamline the process for colleges to apply for restructuring funds so that area review recommendations can be implemented quickly at less expense in terms of professional fees.

12. Publish a Skills Devolution Green Paper

DfE and the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) should publish a Skills Devolution Green Paper to help clarify responsibilities and priorities and encourage debate about the potential benefits and risks.

13. Student loans should be converted into personal learning accounts

The current student loan system should be converted into a personal learning account system which includes a lifetime loan allowance for all courses at Level 4 and above.

14. Colleges should receive resources to support mental health

All colleges should receive specialist resources for college-based mental health advisers and staff mental health training to tackle issues at source and reduce future costs to the health services and society.

15. Negotiations on pension schemes should be re-opened

HM Treasury, DfE and DCLG should re-open negotiations on the Teacher Pension Scheme and Local Government Pension Scheme to contain the costs of the scheme.

16. DfE should rationalise agency responsibilities

A DfE review should consider the rationalisation of funding and quality agency responsibilities but also ways to reduce the costs of assessment and inspection across the education system.