SFCA Manifesto 2019Back
The Sixth Form Colleges Association has urged all political parties to adopt the four recommendations in its election manifesto published today.
The manifesto calls for the sixth form funding rate to be raised to £4,760 per student, Applied General Qualifications such as BTECs to be protected, a dedicated capital fund for sixth form providers and a reformed process for establishing new sixth form provision.
The announcement in September’s spending round that the sixth form funding rate will increase from £4,000 to £4,188 per student in 2020/21 is welcomed as “a step in the right direction”. However, the manifesto urges political parties to adopt the recent recommendation from the Education Select Committee to increase the funding rate to “at least £4,760 per student, rising in line with inflation” - a call supported by the partners in the Raise the Rate campaign.
The manifesto challenges the government’s vision of post-16 education where A levels and T levels are the “qualifications of choice” for 16 to 18 year olds and urges all political parties to guarantee that Applied General Qualifications (AGQs) such as BTECs will continue to be available to students in the future. AGQs are said to have “transformed the life chances of hundreds of thousands of young people and made a huge contribution to both social mobility and economic growth”.
In response to SFCA’s analysis that the number of 16 to 18 year olds in full time education will increase by over 260,000 in the next nine years, the manifesto calls for a “dedicated capital expansion fund for high performing sixth form providers”. This is described as offering “better value for money” and being “lower risk” than opening brand new institutions.
In its final recommendation, the manifesto calls for “a single, competitive process for establishing new sixth form provision” that focuses “on the age range of students (16 to 18 year olds) rather than where they study (school or college)”. A “lack of co-ordination” in the current approach means that decisions to create school sixth forms are “rarely linked” to the current and future provision in colleges.
Commenting on the manifesto, Bill Watkin, Chief Executive of the Sixth Form Colleges Association, said:
“We hope all political parties will adopt the recommendations in our manifesto. The recent increase in the funding rate is welcome, but whoever wins the next election needs to finish the job and raise the rate to at least £4,760 per year. We believe the newly reformed Applied General Qualifications have a vital role to play in meeting the needs of the economy and they must sit alongside T levels and A levels in the future qualifications landscape. Our members are ready to play their part in meeting the demographic surge in 16 to 18 year olds, but they desperately need the capital funding to make that a reality; and a single, competitive process for establishing new sixth form provision is now long overdue”.