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FE jobs


Tuesday 28th February 2017

The IFS study into education spending released yesterday shows that age 16-18 spending was about £6 billion in England last year. Of this, £3.7 billion went to FE and sixth-form colleges and £2.2 billion went to school sixth forms. Yet funding for 16-18 year-olds has been the ‘big loser’ in education in the last decade.

FE funding per student was equivalent to 150% of per-secondary-student value in 1990 but has dropped significantly – to the equivalent of 90% of a secondary student in 2015. Further education has been the only main area to suffer cuts since 2010. Given that total public spending by 2020 is set to be 93% higher than in 1990, the real term cost per FE student will fall to the same level as 30 years ago, following a further per-pupil funding fall of an expected 6.5% over this government.

This lack of investment is expected to result in fewer adult courses and poorer facilities. Particularly in the wake of Brexit, when the skilled tradespeople produced by vocational courses will be desperately needed to shore up the skills gap caused by reduced immigration.

However a spokesperson for the Department for Education (DfE) commented: “We are transforming post-16 education and investing £7 billion to ensure there is a place in education or training for every 16 to 19-year-old who wants one.”

The government is relying on income from the Apprenticeship Levy which comes into effect from April.


To police the quality of the vocational programmes delivered, the Institute of Apprenticeships appointed Antony Jenkins, former Group CEO of Barclays PLC to chair yesterday. One key aspect of the quality control will be liaising with the companies funding apprenticeships (the UK’s largest 2% of employers) to ensure the skills being taught meet the needs in business. Apprenticeships and Skills Minister Robert Halfon commented: “Our reforms to apprenticeships are all about quality, quality, quality. We do not just want 3 million apprenticeships by 2020, we want 3 million quality apprenticeships.”


However, other areas of adult learning will continue to struggle with underfunding. This week, FEWeek launched its #SaveourAdultEducation campaign – fighting for FE maintenance grant loans for adult re-trainers and a proper adult education strategy exempt from political whim but most critically, a full loan write-off for the thousands of blameless adult learners who are left without their course or qualifications when the providers go bankrupt. One London course provider John Frank Training went into liquidation last year leaving students with £8,000 debts and no recourse.

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