On 31 August, Sajid Javid, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, announced he will be investing £400 million in education for 16 to 19-year-olds. An additional £700 million has also been promised as part of the schools’ budget for pupils with SEND.
Clare Howard, Natspec Chief Executive, said:
“Natspec welcomes the government announcement of an additional £400 million in funding for Further Education, the first meaningful investment in FE for more than ten years. Although the funding increase is long overdue, we are delighted that the government has responded to the views of college staff, students and stakeholders. The additional funding, however, will only go part-way to providing the investment the sector needs and further investments and funding increases will be required for colleges to provide the very best education and training for young people.
£190 million of the promised amount will go towards increasing the core funding rate for 16-18 year-old students, including those with SEND. The majority of the remainder of the funding is earmarked for T levels and STEM subjects at higher levels. We recognise that colleges play a vital role in delivering vocational education and training at level 3 and above. However, they also provide valuable opportunities for young people working at level 2 and below, including those with SEND, to acquire the skills and qualifications they need to gain employment, become active and responsible citizens, and lead fulfilling adult lives. This provision also requires increased funding.
We await further specifics of SEND funding. The £700 million announced as part of the schools’ budget is much needed. However, it will not address the serious funding crisis currently facing the sector. The Education Select Committee’s recent report forecasts a £1.2 billion deficit in High Needs funding in 2020-21.
The new funding must be combined with invest to save measures and actions to reduce the bureaucracy of the current funding system. Natspec awaits the outcomes of the recent DfE consultation on the SEND funding system which we hope will be similarly positive.
We will continue to work with our partners in the sector to push for a longer-term commitment to both FE and High Needs funding. This is required in order for all students with SEND to reach their potential.”