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EDITIONS
Monday, 5 August, 2002, 10:41 GMT 11:41 UK
Colleges say funding is being cut
college catering course
Colleges say the overall funding pot is smaller
Colleges in England say the money they get to improve the services they offer to students is being cut.

A survey by the Association of Colleges suggested 72% of sixth form and general further education colleges were losing on average 65,000 in 2002-3.

The association claimed the Learning and Skills Council and its 47 regional offshoots - which now fund the sector - were holding money back unexpectedly.

But the council said the money involved should not be seen as part of colleges' primary funding.

Overall reduction

The survey was based on responses from 170 of England's 485 FE colleges.

The association said it suggested that the government's Standards Fund for colleges had been cut by 25% overall.

The association's director of funding and development, Dr John Brennan, said: "As government is aware, colleges' finances are already in a serious condition.

"Most colleges are very dependent on their Standards Fund allocations to deliver improved services to students and to ensure that staff have access to training and development.

Impact

"At the local level, these cuts obviously make it hard for colleges to forward plan with security.

"Nationally, they widen the yawning gap between schools funding and that for colleges - where the majority of the 16-year olds government wants to target are studying."

About 750,000 16 to 18 year olds are enrolled in sixth form and general FE colleges, compared with 400,000 in secondary schools.

The Learning and Skills Council said the Standards Fund was meant to be for specific projects to improve colleges' performance and not part of their "core" funding.

Raising standards

It said claims that colleges stood to lose 65,000 each were wide of the mark and that the actual figure was "many times" lower.

A spokesman said: "The Standards Fund provides additional funding to fully meet national and local priorities to reach or further improve standards and is allocated according to the need to take action to raise standards.

"Therefore it is normal for allocations to individual providers to vary significantly from year to year."

The colleges said the amount of Standards Fund they were allocated in 2001-02 was in a broad range from 13,227 to 948,000, with a mean allocation of 255,099.

The figures for 2002-03 ranged from 8,137 to 526,845, with a mean allocation of 190,504.

See also:

07 Mar 02 | Education
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26 Jul 01 | Education
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