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Bath College is backing a national campaign calling for fairer funding for colleges ahead of the Government’s spring budget in March.
 
The college is a member of the Association of Colleges (AoC) which has published 16 recommendations for spending on further education.
 
At the moment, education funding for 16 to 18-year-olds is 22 per cent lower than funding for younger learners and the recommendations seek to address this imbalance.
 
Bath College provides full-time and part-time education for over 6,000 students, including 2,000 16 to 18-year-olds who study with the college full-time.
 
Across the country, 2.7 million students are taught at a further education or sixth form college providing academic, professional and technical training.
 
A day of action for the fairer funding campaign takes place on February 22 and Bath College is supporting a Thunderclap set up by the AoC on social media.
 
Bath College Principal Laurel Penrose will also be writing to local MPs to make them aware of the importance of funding for current and future students.
 
She said: “It is becoming increasingly acknowledged that skills shortages affect local, regional and national economies.
 

“Further education colleges have the expertise to provide students with new skills or upskill current practitioners, but a fair funding regime is required.

 
“A skilled workforce will be the backbone of this country’s future economic success and further education colleges are key to making this a reality.”
 

 
Bath College is supporting each of the AoC’s recommendations.
 

These include:
 
Increasing spending on education and training from 4.3 per cent to 5 per cent of GDP in order to introduce fair funding for colleges.
 
• Increasing funding for 16 to 18-year-olds to match Key Stage 4 funding and extending pupil premium above the age of 16.
 
• Financial support to help students choose the best education possible – irrespective of transport costs and other needs such as childcare.
 
• Replace the English and maths condition of funding with rules that rely on the professional judgement of college leaders.
 
• Introducing a new English Social Fund to replace the European Social Fund which is likely to end when Britain leaves the EU.
 
• Review the Adult Education Budget to make sure there are opportunities for those aged 19 and over.
 
• Guarantee apprenticeship spending between 2017 and 2020 regardless of spending generated by the new apprenticeship levy.
 
David Hughes, Chief Executive of the Association of Colleges said: “Colleges already support nearly three 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.”
 
To see the full list of recommendations, visit the AoC website.
 

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