Blog Categories - Education

College principal warns of national funding crisis

A LEADING college principal is warning of a serious threat to sixth form education from a funding crisis looming large on the horizon.

Andrew Jones, principal of Sir John Deane’s College, is campaigning against Government cuts planned for the next four financial years, which he fears will widen the divide between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’ across the UK.

He has spent two months working with other groups lobbying the Government nationally and has spoken out to the Guardian to highlight the damage the cuts will do to every provider of 16 to 18 education, whether that is a sixth form college, further education college or a school.

"We have, for many years, worked to widen the horizons, nurture the talent and unlock the potential of young people from all walks of life – affording them the excellence in quality of teaching and support so often assumed to be the preserve of their counterparts in private schools,” he said.

"Now all the progress we have made is under threat of being unravelled as never before, as funding for 16-18 education faces severe cuts that will damage edcational entitlement and equality of opportunity, just as young people face greater competition both for employment and for top university places and, in the latter case, the daunting prospect of much higher fees.”

Mr Jones said that with inflation, the cuts could amount to a 25 per cent reduction in funding for sixth form education in four years.

The professional bodies already involved in campaigning against the cuts include the Sixth Form Colleges Forum, the Association of Colleges, the Tertiary Colleges Forum, the Local Government Association and the Association of School and College Leaders.

Mr Jones said: "Although SJD is a Beacon College, rated ‘outstanding’ in every category inspected by Ofsted, at our open evenings I always point out that youngsters in the Cheshire and Warrington area are blessed with a genuine choice of quality courses offered by their local colleges and school sixth forms, which is sadly not the case in all parts of the country.

"This is why the sheer scale of the latest cuts is so shocking: it has serious implications for the majority of the country’s young people who rely on the state rather than the private education system.”

He added: "These funding cuts strike at the heart of opportunity for all and will leave not only our educational system but our society and future economy the poorer for it.

"On behalf of all students, I am therefore urging our politicians to reconsider these proposals as a matter of the greatest urgency.”