Students and staff at Franklin Sixth Form College welcomed Melanie Onn, MP for the Grimsby Constituency, to college to discuss the implications of college funding for current and future students ahead of the Government’s Budget announcement in November.
The decision to leave the European Union requires an urgent focus on supporting young people and adults to meet the skills needs of businesses. Colleges support over 2 million people to improve their skills to help them get into work and earn more but the Government needs to use this Budget to increase that investment.
Fair funding for colleges would result in more people getting technical and professional education and training to help build a highly skilled workforce, boost productivity and improve social mobility.
As a member of the Association of Colleges (AoC), Franklin Sixth Form College has joined other colleges across the country to call on the Government for fair funding for colleges.
AoC is recommending that the Government increase spending on education and training to 5% of GDP - this currently stands at 4.3% of GDP but is forecast to fall at a time when student numbers are rising. This increase in funding would bring us into line with other nations in which young people receive many more hours of tuition and support than in England. Our system is unusual because funding for 16 to 18-year-olds is 22% lower than funding for 5 to 16-year-olds.
Trevor Wray, Principal at Franklin Sixth Form College, said: “The future of this area rests with our young people. Franklin College – like all the schools and colleges in the area – has so far managed to insulate sixth formers from the poor levels of funding we receive from Government. This is not sustainable indefinitely. I know that money is tight across all Government departments, and that we have to shout loudly for our case to be heard. All young people in education deserve to be funded well, whether that’s in Primary or Secondary schools, or in colleges and sixth forms. We should be looking to invest in education, like our competitors across the world are doing, and at the moment that simply isn’t happening. There is no logical reason why Government gives a sixth former a fifth less funding – they don’t suddenly become a fifth less important when they reach 16. All we ask is fairness in how Government allocates its funding. I don’t want to see any school or academy lose money because of this campaign – the message to Government is to push the bar up, not continually try to bring it down”.
Following the visit, Melanie Onn said: “It is very important for our young people to have well-funded choices to help them achieve their potential post 16. As a dedicated sixth form college Franklin adds real value to Great Grimsby and so I back the AoC campaign to ensure Franklin gets the funding required to continue to deliver excellent opportunities and progression.”
David Hughes, Chief Executive of the Association of Colleges, said: “Colleges already support over 2 million people nationally, but there are more people who want to improve their skills and the investment by Government is insufficient. They are at the forefront of delivering technical and professional education and training and they can do more with the right investment. Fair funding for colleges is essential for every community and for employers who need skilled people to be successful. ”
AoC has made 15 recommendations to the Chancellor of the Exchequer ahead of the Budget. Full details are available at https://www.aoc.co.uk/publications/aocs-autumn-budget-recommendations-22-september-2017.