Bath College took centre stage in Westminster during a debate on college funding.
The debate was the result of a petition demanding that the government increases college funding to sustainable levels. The petition has almost 70,000 signatures, 174 of which are Bath residents.
The petition is a reaction to the woeful levels of funding experienced by the sector. Almost half of the further education colleges in this country, Bath College included, are operating at a deficit.
Laurel Penrose, Chief Executive of Bath College said; “The strain of budget restrictions is telling on staff, both in their pay and in investment in their departments. Our service to learners is starting to be compromised, because we cannot invest in the infrastructure and enhancements we need to remain at the high standards required by our technical subjects.”
College funding cuts resulted in a strike last year, where members of staff from Bath College walked out, demanding pay in line with the rest of the education sector.
Wera Hobhouse, MP for Bath, who spoke in the debate, said; “Bath College, and the further education sector in general, is vital to social mobility, vital in training people for key worker roles, and central to the principle that this country invests in its people, regardless of background.”
“Bath College continually proves you don’t have to go to university to get ahead in life, and gives people the skills that our business community in Bath need. Not funding further education damages our economy, and damages people’s ability to reach their full potential.”
Wera Hobhouse and the senior management team at Bath College are continuing to work together to champion the importance of the further education sector, and demand the government fund it appropriately.