Sally Dicketts, Group Chief Executive of Activate Learning
Follow Sally on twitter @sallydicketts
The Chancellor has today announced that funding for further education colleges will be protected in cash terms.
This comes as a huge relief for the sector, which was braced for further cuts to the adult skills budget and funding for 16-19 year olds.
At the same time the Chancellor has announced that 19 year olds will be able to access further education loans. This will enable this age group to access training that will make a real impact on their future career and earning potential.
As always, the devil will be in the detail, but on the face of today’s announcement it appears that the campaigning done by colleges up and down the country has paid off.
The situation for many further education colleges is already extremely tough, with funding having reduced by 22 per cent over the last five years. Over the same period funding for schools and universities has grown.
Colleges provide a vital service to the local community, developing the skilled workforce required to meet employment needs and drive growth.
We need the government to recognise the value of this incredibly resourceful sector, and today’s announcement provides some signs that this is beginning.
Blog by Activate Learning Group Chief Executive Sally Dicketts.
Folllow Sally on twitter @sallydicketts
Last week David Cameron set out the government’s Prevent strategy aimed at tackling radicalisation.
The speech highlighted the importance of boosting integration in deprived and isolated communities, including ensuring people learn English.
On the same day the Skills Funding Agency revealed that funding for ESOL plus mandation – a programme to improve the language and literacy skills of job seekers – would be withdrawn.
The cut is part of the £450m savings required by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.
The links between language and community cohesion are clear.
Continue reading “Language skills the key to breaking down barriers”
Sally Dicketts CBE is Chief Executive of Activate Learning
Follow Sally on Twitter @sallydicketts
Further education providers across the country finally received the news they’d been dreading last week as the Skills Funding Agency confirmed cuts to the adult skills budget.
The chopping of 24 per cent off funding for adult learners was delivered with a message that things could in fact have been much worse.
SFA chief executive Peter Lauener announced that a last minute deal with the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills managed to cushion an even more devastating 32 per cent reduction. Providers who do not deliver apprenticeships, traineeships, nor English and maths will still face this higher level chop and it is difficult to see them surviving at all.
Cuts are cuts, and it is unlikely that anyone in the further education sector is breathing a sigh of relief at a figure of 24 per cent. For a group such as ours, cuts to the adult skills budget will reduce annual income by £1.4m.
Continue reading “The writing’s on the wall for adult learning”