With the publication of the long awaited Skills Funding Statement for Further Education, funding has been a big talking point amongst FE leaders.
In brief the Government priorities for education are:
“To provide Traineeships to improve young people’s chances of gaining sustainable employment; Apprenticeships as a core offer to all young adults; English and maths for those who need them; and provision for all learners to increase their skills, competence and knowledge. It is paramount when using our limited funding that we ensure a continual improvement in quality and value for money. We must use our collective expertise and evidence to build a responsive skills system that has rigour, employer ownership and enterprise at its core.”
Reactions from the sector:
“There will be an unwelcome shrinkage in publicly supported provision, but we are relieved that in the rhetoric at least the government is very supportive of maintaining wider access and progression throughout the system.
"The danger though is that by pushing responsibility for deciding cuts onto individual providers, overall coherence in the system will be lost and adults will not have the opportunities they need to get on in learning.”
– David Hughes, Chief Executive at NAICE (full statement)
“The acknowledgement that adult education should be viewed in the round is significant, and it is important now that those of us within Further Education work with our colleagues in the Higher Education sector to secure value for money and a good experience for all adult students.”
– Lynne Sedgmore CBE, executive director of the 157 Group (full statement)
“We knew that significant cuts to the adult skills budget were coming, and we know that that will place real pressure on Colleges. However, we are relieved that the Skills Funding Statement does not add significant further cuts to those we were already aware of.”
– Peter Roberts, chair of the 157 Group and chief executive of Leeds City College (full statement)
“A 20% cut in the adult skills budget comes at a time when colleges are coping with increasing numbers of apprentices, adult learners and unemployed in training.
“The statement provides clarity in some areas but we are still waiting for clearer information on the new HMRC-led apprenticeship funding model and the LEP-led capital funding system. Uncertainty is a disincentive to investment.”
– Julian Gravatt, Chief Executive at the AoC (full statement)
For an overview of the statement and implications of funding cuts on the further education and skills sector have a look at these slides by Nick Linford, Director at Lsect – Skills Funding Statement with NCFE.pdf
Freddie Whittaker has also written a great article on Fe Week that is worth reading – An In-Depth Look At The Skills Funding Statement As 19% ASB Cut Attacked