Thu, 18 April 2024

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ATL on future of sixth form and further education colleges

ATL | Association of Teachers and Lecturers

2 min read Partner content

Commenting on the impact of further potential funding cuts to sixth form and further education colleges, Dr Mary Bousted, Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL), said:

“The Labour Party is right to draw attention to the impact of the Government’s cuts on the opportunities for the 63% of 16-18 year olds who choose to study in sixth form and further education colleges rather than schools.  The projected cuts represent around 25% of the total FE budget and suggest the Government does not value further education and skills.  Such cuts would put vocational education at risk and turn colleges into places where students only go to re-take GCSE English and maths.

“The Government’s answer will be that 16-18 year olds should earn and learn on apprenticeship programmes.  But currently only 6% of young people are on apprenticeship programmes because the Government has not yet developed a strategy to encourage employers to provide good quality programmes in the quantity it keeps promising.  And many so-called apprenticeships do not provide high level vocational education and training and professional development.

“Government spending on tertiary education was below the OECD averages at the start of the decade (1.3% of GDP versus the 1.6% average) and further cuts will make it harder for young people to learn the skills they need and for support to be provided for employer 'training' in the UK which is already one of the lowest in Europe.  The Government’s austerity measures jeopardise opportunities for young people and adults who need new skills to improve their job prospects and contribute to the economy of this country.  When the UK needs a workforce with excellent technical skills to improve productivity, any further cuts would be hugely damaging.”