Today I spoke in a packed Parliamentary debate, as Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Students, making the case for FE funding. I highlighted the important role of Sheffield College, 53% of all whose students come from a disadvantaged postcode area, in enabling social mobility and providing upskilling and retraining for adults across the city.
I pressed Ministers to recognise 16-18 as a priority within the wider debate on education spending, noting that College funding has fallen, over the past ten years by c. 30%; to provide additional funding for adult students to meet the demand for a higher skilled workforce; to support Colleges in paying staff competitively as average FE lecturers’ pay is £7k lower than school teachers’ pay; and improved capital investment particularly in high cost areas such as engineering and providing “real-work” environments for vocational courses.
I also made the case for investment in support services for students’ well-being, particularly in relation to mental health. You can see my speech here.