ASCL comment on IFS report into further education and sixth form spending in England

18/08/2021
Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, comments on the IFS report which says that a large increase in student numbers means additional spending on sixth forms and colleges has done little to reverse a decade of cuts in funding per student.
 
Commenting on the IFS report that a large increase in student numbers means additional spending on sixth forms and colleges has done little to reverse a decade of cuts in funding per student, Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said:

The funding rate for post-16 education is completely inadequate and has been for many years, despite the number of 16 and 17-year-olds staying in full-time education hitting an all-time high of 85% in 2020. 

“The government completely undervalues a sector which is vital to the life chances of young people – many of whom come from disadvantaged backgrounds. 

“There is no rhyme or reason why the funding rate for 16 and 17-year-olds is less than the minimum funding rate for secondary school pupils and nowhere near university tuition fees. All of this before the far-reaching impacts of the pandemic are factored in, with a profound need to catch up on lost learning.

“We note that the IFS report shows BTECs remain very popular with students. Bizarrely, the government wants to do away with these qualifications, which provide a trusted and valued way into higher education, apprenticeships and future careers for many disadvantaged students.

“The government simply must provide a better deal for young people in post-16 education
.”