This government review, led by Philip Augar, aims to consider the roles HE and FE should play in meeting the country’s social and economic needs, how they fit together, how they should be funded and whether they are delivering value for students and taxpayers.
Key points and recommendations
Maths and English
‘English and Maths tuition up to and including GCSE is currently fully funded for all, and in our view, should continue to be so’.
- The government should introduce a single lifelong learning loan allowance for tuition loans at Levels 4, 5 and 6, available for adults aged 18 or over, without a publicly funded degree. This should be set, as it is now, as a financial amount equivalent to four years’ full-time undergraduate degree funding.
- ‘Overall, we believe that introducing a flexible lifetime loan allowance would make a fundamental and positive difference to the relative attractions of part-time, adult, and level 4/5 study, and would strongly encourage young people to think about their higher education in terms of a lifetime of employment.’
Further Education & Apprenticeships
- ‘A national network of collaborative FECs that provide high quality technical and professional education with a clear focus on Levels 3, 4 and 5, delivered flexibly and aligned to the needs of local economies. FECs will maintain strong relationships with employers and assist in driving productivity. As engines of social mobility and inclusion, FECs will also provide community learning, reskilling and upskilling opportunities for adults leading to sustainable career opportunities.’
- Government should provide FE colleges with a dedicated capital investment of at least £1 billion over the next Spending Review period. This should be in addition to funding for T levels and should be allocated primarily on a strategic national basis in-line with Industrial Strategy priorities.
- The unit funding rate for economically valuable adult education courses should be increased.
- The reduction in the core funding rate for 18 year-olds should be reversed.
- There should be full funding for adults 24 and over for first full Levels 2 and 3 qualifications.
- Investment in the FE workforce should be a priority, allowing improvements in recruitment and retention, drawing in more expertise from industry, and strengthening professional development.
- FE colleges should be more clearly distinguished from other types of training provider in the FE sector with a protected title similar to that conferred on universities.
- Funding for Level 6 and above apprenticeships should normally be available only for apprentices who have not previously undertaken a publicly-supported degree.Ofsted become the lead responsible body for the inspection of the quality of apprenticeships at all levels.
- The cap on the fee chargeable to HE students should be reduced to £7,500 per year. This could be introduced by 2021/22.
- The government should restore maintenance grants for socio-economically disadvantaged students to at least £3,000 a year.
- ‘Introduce new finance terms under the banner of a new ‘student contribution system’. Define and promote the system with new language to make clearer the nature of the system, reducing focus on ‘debt’ levels and interest and emphasising contribution rates.’