A newly published LSC document that outlines changes to the planning and funding of the Further Education sector
‘The two-year strategy, announced by Minister for Lifelong Learning, Further and Higher Education, Bill Rammell, builds on the policy priorities in this year’s 14-19 and Skills White Paper and will see increased investment to:
- Enable more 14-19 year olds to stay in education or training and improve their results; and
- Train more adults without basic skills and qualifications to join the workforce.
At the same time, changes will be introduced to ensure funding remains sustainable in the long term, with a greater proportion of the costs of training coming from individuals and employers.
Funding will be targeted at:
- Increasing provision for 16-19 year olds – an 11% rise in funding to 2007/08 will enable an extra 46,000 young people to learn in FE colleges and schools by 2007/08 compared with this year;
- Maintaining the numbers of young people in apprenticeships while increasing the numbers completing their apprenticeships;
- Providing free tuition for adults most in need of skills and qualifications to help them into long term employment – including those in need of basic literacy and numeracy skills and those studying for a first level 2 qualification (equivalent to five GCSEs A* – C)
- Rolling out the National Employer Training programme across the country by August 2006 – which will enable colleges to grow their business with employers;
- Maintaining the value of funding for personal and community development learning with £210 million set aside from 2006/07.
Launching the strategy at a meeting of FE principals in London, Bill Rammell said:
"The growth of the FE sector has been one of this country’s great success stories. Unprecedented levels of investment since 1997- up by 2.5billion or 48 per cent in real terms – have seen a rise in student numbers of more than 800,000, a tripling of the number of young people in apprenticeships, provision of improved basic skills for more than a million adults and a higher proportion of students completing their course successfully. The Spending Review of 2004 delivered a £1billion increase in funding for the learning and skills sector as a whole over 2004-05 and this will help us to drive forward improved standards in FE.
"But the huge successes we have seen, while welcome, have contributed to the rising costs and we have developed this strategy with a view to rebalancing spending on our priority areas.
"Total public funding for FE and the National Employer Training Programme will rise above inflation for the next two years, but if we are to maintain the improvements in our key areas and to drive forward as a competitive economy, public funding alone will not suffice. Employers and individuals benefit and it is only right that they contribute more to meet costs."
The Government currently picks up nearly three quarters of the cost of adult learning courses. Under the new strategy, the level of contributions from employers and individuals outside the groups entitled to free tuition would rise to 37.5% in 2007/08, equivalent to a rise in the cost of an hour’s tuition from £1.42 to £1.94, or just over 50 pence.’
To view the document in full, visit the LSC website.
You may also like to read the TUC response to the document.