I have been supporting the Raise the Rate campaign, calling for fair funding for sixth forms and colleges, such as St Brendan’s Sixth Form College in my constituency. Sixth-form education has been starved of cash for too long. The freeze has meant that colleges have had to cut back on the range of subjects offered and on extra-curricular activities. I wrote to the Chancellor urging him to compensate colleges for the years of under-funding, and then ensure the settlement rises in line with inflation.
The Government has since announced it will be giving an additional £400 million to further education, which is welcome. However, the Association of Colleges has warned that this money is still not enough to compensate for over a decade of under-investment. Next year per student funding will rise from £4,000 per student to £4,188, whereas a rise fixed to inflation since 2013 would mean £4,760 per pupil, so there is still a long way to go.