College principal hits at unfair funding cuts

Date published: 03 January 2014

CUTS to college and school funding for 18 year olds in full-time education will have a significant and disproportionate affect on Oldham College, according to principal Alun Francis.

From September, the Government is cutting budgets for this age group by 17.5 per cent, to focus on 16 and 17-year-olds. It claims the changes will affect less than a fifth of students and a two per cent cut overall. Students with learning difficulties or disabilities will be excluded from the restrictions. Those without a grade C in English and maths will continue to attract disadvantage funding at the full rate.

But college leaders fear that the most vulnerable students will be affected.

“We can’t expect the impact of the economic crisis to pass us by,” said Mr Francis. “The issue is not so much the reduction in funding, but the fairness of how this is applied.

“A lot has already been said about the decision to only reduce funding for 18 year olds. This is definitely an issue in Oldham and will affect this college disproportionately. There is also a wider issue, which is the growing gap between the funding per student given to colleges compared to schools and universities.

“Universities receive £7,500-£9,000 per student per year, schools receive over £6,000, and colleges and sixth-form colleges receive only £4,500. This discrepancy is hard to justify.”