10th November 2017
Students and staff at York College welcomed a visit from Julian Sturdy MP to discuss the implications of further education funding for current and future students ahead of the Government’s Budget announcement this month.
As a member of the Association of Colleges (AoC), York College is joining other colleges across the country to call on the Government for fair funding for colleges. Dr Alison Birkinshaw, President of the AoC and Principal of York College explains: “We do our absolute best to provide a broad and rich curriculum for our students but with only just enough funding to cover 15 hours tuition a week for 16 and 17 year olds, and 12 hours for an 18 year old, it is not even enough to cover the cost of delivering three A Levels. We must invest in our young people because they are the future.”
Student Abigail Harman studies four A Levels at York College (Maths, Further Maths, Physics and Music Technology). She said: “There are real concerns around Further Education sector funding. In my case in order to have a chance of getting into a competitive higher education institution such as Oxford or Cambridge I have to do far more extra study to that which is on the on the curriculum. For example, to prepare for the Mathematics Admissions Test for Oxford University I came into College during half term, mere days before the exam. The additional tuition I received was outside of the 15 hours per week that York College can provide from their budget. More funding is required for future students to have a fair chance at getting onto competitive courses.”
First year A Level student Alex James also studies four A Levels, including A Level Economics. He says: “Economics was my fourth A Level choice and it has turned out to be the subject I want to study at university. Economics is not offered in other schools and I am so grateful York College still teaches the subject. When I apply to university I want to be able to demonstrate extra-curricular activities on my personal statement, for example the Duke of Edinburgh Award, however this kind of activity is no longer funded in the further education sector and has to be afforded by the individual.”
Imi Godwin is registered blind and receives learning support whilst studying a three year education programme at the College. In her first year at York College she excelled, achieving excellent results. Imi thanks the College for understanding her personal support needs: “I would not have been able to cope with the demands of a two year study programme and the College has put the right A Level study programme in place for me, including an Extended Project Qualification. These qualifications will enable me to go to university to study Occupational Therapy."
The decision to leave the European Union requires an urgent focus on supporting young people and adults to meet the future skills needs of businesses. In the UK Colleges support over 2 million people to improve their skills to help them get into work and earn more but the Government needs to use this Budget to increase that investment. Fair funding for 16-18 education would result in more people getting technical and professional education and training to help build a highly skilled workforce, boost productivity and improve social mobility.
Following the visit, York Outer MP Julian Sturdy said: “York College provides an outstanding education to its students and we have to recognise that sustaining this requires the necessary investment and funding. I am encouraged that funding is being provided for the delivery of the new T-Level qualification, but we cannot overlook existing courses such as A Levels and vocational equivalents. The required base uplift is achievable and I am confident we can make progress in this area.”
David Hughes, Chief Executive of the Association of Colleges, said: “Colleges already support over 2 million people nationally, but there are more people who want to improve their skills and the investment by Government is insufficient. They are at the forefront of delivering technical and professional education and training and they can do more with the right investment. Fair funding for colleges is essential for every community and for employers who need skilled people to be successful.”