11th November 2014
The Sixth Form Colleges’ Association (SFCA) has today published its manifesto ahead of the 2015 general election. The manifesto makes seven recommendations to political parties on behalf of the 93 Sixth Form Colleges in England, that between them educate over 158,000 students. The recommendations include:
- Reversing the decision to decouple AS levels from A levels
- Dropping the ‘learning tax’ by removing the imposition of VAT on Sixth Form Colleges
- Introducing a competitive process for establishing new sixth form providers
The manifesto shows that Sixth Form Colleges achieve better exam results and help a greater proportion of their students to progress to higher education than school or academy sixth forms. This is all achieved at a lower cost to the public purse and with a greater proportion of students eligible for Free School Meals. But SFCA claim that some Sixth Form Colleges will close and others will be forced to offer an impoverished curriculum unless damaging changes to funding and the curriculum are reversed. Three areas of particular concern identified in the manifesto are:
A level reform: Sixth Form Colleges deliver 20% of the A levels sat in England each year. But the manifesto predicts that plans to remove the link between AS levels and A levels from September 2015 will make it more difficult for young people to progress to higher education or employment and will increase the risk of students dropping out of courses.
The learning tax: The Government refunds the VAT costs of schools and academies but not Sixth Form Colleges - leaving the average Sixth Form College with £335,000 less to spend on the education of students each year. The manifesto urges political parties to drop this ‘learning tax’ and ensure that young people receive the same level of investment in their education, irrespective of where they choose to study.
Unfair competition: Many young people do not have the opportunity to study at a Sixth Form College, as the Government will only support the creation of new school, academy and free school sixth forms. The manifesto calls on the Government to introduce a transparent and competitive process for establishing new institutions rather than favouring certain types of sixth form provider.
To download a copy of the SFCA manifesto click on one of the links below:
For more information please contact SFCA Deputy Chief Executive, James Kewin.