West Suffolk College principal’s call to protect further education before tomorrow’s Autumn Statement

West Suffolk College in Bury St Edmunds

West Suffolk College in Bury St Edmunds - Credit: Archant

The leader of West Suffolk College has backed calls to protect the budget for further education as the Government prepares to announce spending cuts.

Tomorrow Chancellor George Osborne will announce the Government’s Autumn Statement which will cover the next four years and is expect to see £20billion of cuts.

The schools budget has been protected in cash terms but funding for further education has not – with more than £6billion expected to be reduced between 2015-2019.

The Association of Colleges (AOC), which represents 335 colleges in England, has called on the Government to make education funding for 16 to 18-year-olds, who have to stay in education or training until they are 18, the same as that provided for 14 to 16-year-olds.

Nikos Savvas, principal of West Suffolk College in Bury St Edmunds, has backed the AOC and has asked local MPs for their support. “We have an excellent relationship with our local MPs Jo Churchill and Matthew Hancock and have been in touch with them asking them to speak to their colleagues in Government about a number of issues potentially affected by the 2015 Spending Review,” he said.

“In particular we have said: ‘Please press for further education colleges to be funded for their students on the same basis as those in schools; state the need for colleges to be given three-year funding commitments so that we can plan for the future with confidence’.”

He added there was also a need to push for the introduction of long-term initiatives to help colleges to recruit maths and English teachers. This would mean they could help produce young people with the numeracy and literacy skills they need and that the whole community relied on.

Most Read

The AOC has warned that colleges are cutting A-level courses because they cannot afford to offer them. The association’s document, which has been sent to the Government, states: “Full-time sixth-form study in England involves average contact time of less than 20 hours a week compared to between 25 and 30 hours a week in higher-performing areas such as Sweden and Canada .

“Some institutions have only been able to manage on existing 16 to 18 funding with the help of transitional funding or by cross-subsidising post-16 provision from pre-16 budgets (as many schools do). Funding drops by about 22% when a young person moves from Year 11 to Year 12.”

If you have an education story, call Matt Hunter on 01473 324802 or email matt.hunter@archant.co.uk