The education of young people is important not only to individuals, but to this country as a whole. To be a prosperous UK, particularly in a post-Brexit world, we need to make sure that our future workforce are provided with the skills and knowledge needed for their future careers. To do this effectively, we must ensure that our colleges and schools are provided with the right resources.
According to figures from the Sixth Form Colleges Association, the average education funding per 11-16 student is £5,751. This drops to an average of £4,531 for 16-18 education. The rates paid by the Department for Education have been fixed in cash terms since 2013 despite inflationary pressures each year.
There is a growing gap between the funding made available to educate this age group and the actual cost of delivering a high quality curriculum. This has had a significant impact on students as the current funding levels mean that most young people only receive around 15 hours of teaching and support per week. This is considerably less than in other high performing education systems in other countries.
If no action is taken, this will have a detrimental impact on the commitment to improving the skills of the UK population. Earlier this year, the Chancellor announced plans in the Budget to invest £500 million as part of the proposed T Levels outlined in the Post-16 Skills Plan and Lord Sainsbury’s Review. This increase in funding for students aged 16-19 studying technical courses will equate to around 25 hours per week but is only likely to cover around 25% of those in education. Higher study hours should be an aspiration for everyone. The Government was right to identify that students studying technical courses require additional support to succeed, but the same is true of young people studying A Levels and applied general qualifications – particularly disadvantaged students.
It’s because of this that I’m pleased to be holding a debate in Westminster Hall this afternoon on the issue. For too long, young people have been shortchanged when it comes to education. A high-quality curriculum needs proper investment. The importance of teaching hours and student contact time should not be underestimated. The Government has a duty to ensure that young people have access to the learning hours needed to give them every opportunity to succeed.
The education of young people is important not only to individuals, but to this country as a whole. To be a prosperous UK, particularly in a post-Brexit world, we need...
My article for Politics Home:
In its offer to the British people this year the Conservative Party promised fair funding for schools but its current proposals wholly ignore post-16. This made sense when compulsory education ended at 16, but is nonsense now the Raising of the Participation Age means everyone remains in education and training up to 18. And it is not being honest with the electorate who would expect the fair funding promise to cover sixth formers.
It is those very sixth formers who are now being most short-changed by our education system.
The average funding of £4,531 per student received by Colleges and school sixth forms is already 21% less than the £5,751 per pupil received to educate 11-16 year olds in secondary schools. This compares with average spending once they progress into higher education of £8,781 per student. And in private schools the funding of students actually increases post-16 to reflect the additional cost - £15,333 per student!
Worryingly cuts to education funding for 16 to 19 year olds in 2011, 2013 and 2014 are fast turning English sixth form education into a part time experience.
Recent research from the Institute of Education describes sixth form education in England as “uniquely narrow and short” compared to the high performing education systems in Shanghai, Singapore, Canada and elsewhere. Our sixth formers are now only funded to receive half the tuition time as sixth formers in other leading economies. Students in other leading education systems – our global competitors - receive more tuition time and study more subjects.
The funding that schools and colleges now receive to educate sixth formers covers the cost of delivering just three A level or equivalent qualiﬁcations, little more. As a result, the wider support offer to students has been greatly diminished.
Before my election to Parliament I was Principal of John Leggott College so I know from personal experience how keeping students busy is the best way to maximise their chances of success. Programmes of study where students have too much free time are not effective in getting the best out of them. These students are in transition from a fairly directed pre-16 learning environment to the independent learning of HE and the world of work. That transition needs to be appropriately supported.
Sadly the student experience in schools and colleges is deteriorating. Over a third of colleges have dropped modern foreign languages courses and the majority have reduced or removed the extra-curricular activities available to students including music, drama and sport.
Even more concerning two out of three colleges do not believe the funding they will receive next year will be sufficient to support students that are educationally or economically disadvantaged. So the underfunding of 16-19 education is becoming a real obstacle to improving social mobility.
Schools increasingly find themselves having to use the funding intended for 11-16 year olds to subsidise their sixth forms, which risks damaging the education of younger students.
Grammar schools are particularly concerned about the funding of 16-19 education and increasingly raising serious concerns.
But it is not too late for the Government to wake up to its responsibility to 16-19 year olds. I am pleased to support the two modest, reasonable asks being made by ASCL, AoC and SFCA to #SupportOurSixthformers.
First the Government should use last year’s 16-19 underspend to make an immediate modest annual increase in funding of £200 per student. Secondly the Government should recognise the challenge in this area and announce a full review of sixth form funding to ensure it is linked to the realistic costs of delivering a rounded, high quality education. The sort of education that we would all want for our children, the sort of education they deserve and the country needs them to have. It is time for the Government to make true its promise to bring fair funding to our schools, including our sixth formers.
My article for Politics Home: In its offer to the British people this year the Conservative Party promised fair funding for schools but its current proposals wholly ignore post-16. ...
I very much welcome the announcement by Tata Steel Uk that it has signed the definitive documentation for a Regulated Apportionment Arrangement (RAA) with the British Steel Pension Scheme Trustees.
Listening to what people have been saying locally I share their frustration about the lack of information regarding these likely changes over recent months. Only on Monday I was at a meeting on the steelworks where workers' concerns and uncertainty about what was going on was very clear. For over a year people have worried about their security in retirement. I hope that this announcement will begin to bring this uncertainty to an end.
I'm sure all pension scheme members will look out for the information that will shortly come from the Trustees of the detail of what this means to their pension and what their choices are.
As with all this sort of information it is often difficult to get your head round it. It will be important to read the information that comes out carefully in order to make a well informed choice, taking professional advice if necessary.
My understanding is that there will be meetings organised around the country for BSPS members to find out more about what this means to them and ask questions.
A website www.bspensions.com/choose has been set up by those responsible to update BSPS members and respond to questions.
I will be taking a very close interest on behalf of my constituents to see that this is managed in their very best interests. As with all things, however, the devil is in the detail and I am keen to hear from people about how these proposals will affect them. I am concerned that TATA and the Government deliver on their responsibilities and that BSPS members don’t lose out.
I very much welcome the announcement by Tata Steel Uk that it has signed the definitive documentation for a Regulated Apportionment Arrangement (RAA) with the British Steel Pension Scheme Trustees....
Social care is in crisis, and it is decisions made in Downing Street that have brought us to this point. Theresa May must stop turning a blind eye to the problems in social care and address the funding crisis urgently.
Since 2010 local authorities’ social care budgets have been cut by £4.6 billion and 400,000 fewer people are now receiving publicly funded social care. In North Lincolnshire we have seen our council budget cut by 40% per cent, which has meant vulnerable people in our community not getting the care and support they need.
Labour has warned time and again of the growing crisis in social care. The competing pressures of an ageing population and chronic underfunding cannot go on. Theresa May must act now to make sure that councils like North Lincolnshire have the money to provide quality social care for all those who need it.
Social care is in crisis, and it is decisions made in Downing Street that have brought us to this point. Theresa May must stop turning a blind eye to the...
I've been learning more about the fantastic work of Songbooks And Glory.
They are a social project based in Scunthorpe who aim of providing free musical teaching and musical instruments to disadvantaged children globally. Recently they held a very successful event at the Lincoln Imp where they raised £248.
They are now aiming to bring about their most ambitious project as they are hoping to give the opportunity of a lifetime to a few young people to spend a few months touring Europe, learning about varying styles of European music and playing their own brand of music at various European venues.
I wish them every success and am told they are accepting donations via Crowdfunder: http://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/songbooks-and-glory-young-peoples-european-tour
I've been learning more about the fantastic work of Songbooks And Glory. They are a social project based in Scunthorpe who aim of providing free musical teaching and musical instruments to...