Heidi Allen and a cross-party group of 93 MPs have signed a letter to Chancellor Sajid Javid urging him to boost education funding for 16 to 18 year olds.
The letter (below) was sent following this week’s announcement that a fast-tracked spending round will take place on Wednesday.
Signatories include Robert Halfon, chair of the education select committee and several former Conservative ministers. The letter has also been signed by Liberal Democrat education spokesperson Layla Moran, Labour’s shadow education minister Tracy Brabin, and the Green Party’s Caroline Lucas
The MPs – who all have a school sixth form, sixth form college or FE college in their constituency – urge the Chancellor to “prioritise investment in 16 to 18 education in the forthcoming spending round.”
They use the recent survey by the Raise the Rate campaign to highlight the impact of funding pressures on students and conclude that, “The underinvestment in sixth form education is bad for students, bad for social mobility and bad for the economy”.
The MPs press the Chancellor to implement the first recommendation in A ten-year plan for school and college funding – the report published by the Education Committee in July – which is to “urgently address underfunding in further education by increasing the base rate from £4,000 to at least £4,760, rising in line with inflation.”
They write that raising the rate to this level “… is the only way to ensure that schools and colleges can increase student services to minimum required levels, protect minority subjects and reverse the decline in extra-curricular activities and work experience.”
The MPs conclude that government investment must go beyond technical education “The additional funding proposed for T levels is welcome, but will have no impact on the vast majority of young people who study A levels or applied general qualifications.”
Commenting on the letter:
Rt Hon Robert Halfon MP, Chair of the Education Committee said: “It is extraordinary that 16 to 18 education has for so long been starved of cash. Funding this age group properly must sit at the heart of a ten-year plan and be a major priority in the forthcoming spending round. I am delighted that so many MPs have used the letter to support the Education Committee’s recommendation to raise the rate of funding to at least £4,760 per student, rising in line with inflation.”
James Kewin from the Sixth Form Colleges Association, who is co-ordinating the Raise the Rate campaign, said: “We are grateful to all the MPs that signed this letter in support of the Raise the Rate campaign – particularly at such short notice and during recess. Next week’s spending round is a golden opportunity for the government to address the funding crisis in sixth form education, and ensure that colleges and schools receive the funding they need to provide every 16 to 18 year old with a high quality education”.