B&FC unites with every college in England to demand fairer funding for further education

Published on 03/07/2019 by jrober

The Chief Executive and Principal of Blackpool and The Fylde College has joined forces with every college in England to call for urgent investment in technical and vocational education.

Bev Robinson OBE is one of 203 college leaders to have written an open letter, to both the Chancellor & Secretary of State for Education, demanding the implementation of the recent Post-18 Education Review - The Augar Review.

The open letter urges them to “answer the calls from business” and respond to the “challenges of technological change and Brexit”, by urgently investing in the country’s technical and vocational education system by implementing the main recommendations.

The 203 leaders are responsible for institutions that educate and train two million people each year, employing 180,000 staff and they have a combined turnover of £6 billion per annum.

The Augar Review called for, amongst other things, an end to the 17.5% cut in education funding for 18-year olds, £1billion investment in capital funding for colleges, support so that everybody, regardless of age, to achieve to at least a level three qualification, and a rebalancing of the traditional post-18 educational landscape.

Key extracts from the letter:

“[The Post-18 Review] understands that employers and communities need more high quality technical and professional education and training, industry standard facilities, expert staff and the unique curriculum that colleges already provide. It sees colleges as the key vehicle for the flexible, local delivery of national strategies, supporting industrial policy, productivity, skills development and genuine social equity.  It clearly acknowledges that all this requires real investment.”

“In many respects the Augar Review represents a wider emerging consensus across England. We are sure that you will agree with us and other key stakeholders that further education colleges have been neglected, and that there is now a growing appreciation of their unique role, value and potential. What we now need are decisions and commitments: with your political leadership, support and resolve, colleges will be able to build on what they already do to reach more employers and more adults and make the differences our economy and society need."

David Hughes, Chief Executive of the Association of Colleges, said: “It is extraordinary to have every leader in every general further education college in the country collaborate like this. But then these are extraordinary times. These college leaders are uniquely placed at the hearts of their communities, working closely with local, national and international business, supporting individuals to get on in life, and driving the social mobility agenda. 
Government needs to listen to them if they’ve got any chance of tackling the major issues this country faces, now and in the future.”

You can read the full Post-18 Education Review here.