Commenting on the government’s Skills for Jobs White Paper, Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said:
“We welcome the government’s focus on supporting people to retrain through their lives and gain new skills aligned to the needs of the economy. This is important in a time when we are seeing rapid technological change, and particularly as the country recovers from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
“However, we continue to be concerned about the severe underfunding of the post-16 sector, which plays such a vital role in delivering the technical and vocational education that the government says it is so keen to boost, as well as academic routes which are also of the utmost importance.
“Recent analysis by the Institute for Fiscal Studies found that further education and sixth form colleges, along with school sixth forms, have seen the largest falls in per-student funding of any sector of the education system since 2010–11.
“We hope that the government will now commit to the immediate and urgent increase in funding that this sector has needed for so long.
“We note that the government is also launching its consultation on post-qualification admissions for university, where students receive and accept offers after they have achieved their A-levels.
“This is an important reform which should make the system fairer alongside other measures and we look forward to seeing the detailed proposals.”