The government will reconfirm its commitment to a “skills revolution” with a spending package to be presented by the chancellor on Wednesday.
Rishi Sunak will announce £ 1.6 billion for the launch of new ones T levels for 16-19 year olds and £ 550 million for adult skills in its fall statement.
And there will be £ 830m confirmed to continue a five-year program to refurbish and modernize colleges.
The college deans said the funding was welcome, but it wouldn’t go far enough.
Sixth form colleges and 16-19 education finances have been in trouble for many years.
A report by the IPPR think-tank last year suggested that colleges in England would need £ 2.7 billion more annually since 2010 just to reach the investment levels they were then.
Implementation of T levels
The £ 1.6 billion cash investment for colleges over three years to 2024-25 will primarily be used to provide additional classroom hours for up to 100,000 young people attending T-levels. Currently there are about 2,000 students in the T level courses.
These are the government’s new professional qualifications, equivalent to three A levels, which have been developed with businesses to meet the needs of industry.
Three levels of T are currently available: design, survey and construction planning; digital production, design and development; education and care of children. However, over time the government wants the list to be expanded to include training for many more professions.
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The funding will also cover inflationary pressures and accommodate the largest number of teenagers in the population.
An extra £ 550 million is being invested in adult skills through the Skills Fund by 2024-25. This fund offers short courses and so-called “skills training camps” for adults who have no qualifications beyond the GCSE level.
And there’s another £ 170m for apprenticeships and training.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak said: “Our future economic success depends not only on the education we give our children, but also on the lifelong learning we offer for adults.”
He said his £ 3 billion investment would create a “skills revolution”, which would build on the government’s job creation plans and spread opportunities across the UK by transforming post-16 education.
At the heart of the government’s plan for 16 to 19 year olds in England is a qualification few have yet heard of, the Technical or T-Level.
A T level is designed to be equivalent to three A levels or up to 3 BTec.
The T-Levels are substantial and rather demanding courses, which include at least 45 days of internship.
At present, only around 2,000 students across England are enrolled to study the first T-levels, which they will complete next summer.
The government hopes to quickly ramp up the numbers as more T-tiers are introduced, in part through a controversial decision to remove funding from popular BTecs in similar topics.
‘A good start’
College Association CEO David Hughes said it was nice to see the Prime Minister’s rhetoric about “leveling up” supported by money.
“We always expected the funding increase would not go far enough, but given the circumstances, we see it as a good start in a tough spending round.
“The fact that the Chancellor is leading with this announcement ahead of the Comprehensive Spending Review shows how far we have come to have the government recognize the importance of investing in people to bridge the skills gap.”
He added: “I hope the lack of mention of education recovery is due to a significant announcement at the shipping box on Wednesday.”
He said his organization had calculated that it would take at least £ 300 million a year to support the recovery of education for 16 to 19-year-olds.
“They had the biggest disruption at a critical time in their life and studies, but now they have the least time left in education and training to catch up,” Hughes said.
Bill Watkins, chief executive officer of the Sixth Form Colleges Association, said, “Today’s announcement focuses on the small minority of 16 to 18 year olds taking a technical course.
“This is welcome, but all students deserve their education to be properly funded and we hope Wednesday’s spending review will also focus on the vast majority of young people studying A-level or BTec qualifications.”
- Autumn declaration by the Chancellor
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