Raise the Rate

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Raise the Rate

The sixth form funding rate is frozen at £4,188 per student, per year. This rate is significantly below the funding given to 11-16s, and is insufficient to deliver high-quality 16-18 education. It's time to Raise the Rate.


Education funding for 16 to 18 year olds has been cut sharply since 2010. During that time, costs have risen significantly, the needs of students have become more complex and the government has demanded much more of colleges and schools. However, the national funding rate (‘the rate’) for 16 and 17 year olds was frozen at £4,000 per student, per year in 2013 (and was reduced to £3,300 per year for 18 year olds in 2014).

The sustained underinvestment in sixth form funding over the past decade continues to have a negative impact on the education of students, the financial health of colleges and schools, and the ability of government to achieve its ambitions for the economy and social mobility. The funding impact survey carried out by the Raise the Rate campaign in 2019 showed that as a result of funding pressures:

  • 51% of schools and colleges have dropped courses in modern foreign languages
  • 38% have dropped STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths) courses 
  • 78% have reduced student support services or extra-curricular activities – with significant cuts to mental health support, employability skills and careers advice
  • 81% are teaching students in larger class sizes

In the September 2019 spending round, the government announced that it would raise the rate to £4,188 per student from 2020/21, and this was extended for a further year in November 2020. This is a welcome step in the right direction, but research from London Economics indicates that £4,760 per student is the minimum level of additional funding required to increase student support services to the required level (e.g. mental health support), protect minority subjects that are at risk of being dropped (e.g. modern foreign languages), and increase non-qualification time (e.g. extra-curricular activities, work experience). The cross-party Education Select Committee has also called for “a post-16 core funding rate raise from £4,000 to at least £4,760 per student, rising in line with inflation.”

The House of Commons produces and regularly updates a briefing explaining changes to funding over the years, which sets out clearly how costs have increased and available funds have diminished.



The Raise the Rate campaign (which is backed by the associations that represent schools, colleges, teachers, support staff, students and governors in England) would like to see the government make a clear commitment to increase the funding rate for 16, 17 and 18 year olds to at least £4,760 per student from 2022/23, accompanied by an annual rise in line with inflation. This should be in addition to, rather than instead of, a long term commitment to maintain the teachers’ pension grant and funding for high value/high cost subjects.


Get involved

We need the support of school and college leaders, governors, students, parents, teachers and support staff to make the campaign a success.  There are lots of ways to get involved, for example:

  • Write to your local MP to secure their support for the campaign (a full list of MPs is here)
  • Invite local MPs to your school or college
  • Schools and college leaders can write to parents to secure their support for the campaign 
  • Tweet support using the campaign infographics and hashtag #raisetherate
  • Take photographs using the campaign poster and share on social media

A one page summary of the campaign can be found here. More information, infographics and template letters can be found on the campaign website raisetherate.org.uk #RaisetheRate

Campaign in the News 2020

Campaign in the News 2019

December 2019

Why arts are vital to closing the skills gap, Tes

What does FE really want from politicians? Certainty, Tes

November 2019

Sector response to Conservative Party manifesto Right to Retrain and a £3 billion National Skills Fund‍ pledge, FE News

Conservatives announce manifesto pledge of £3bn over 5 years for a ‘new National Skills Fund’, FE Week

The Labour Party's manifesto for 'real change' - sector response, FE NewsLiberal Democrats pledge £1bn for colleges in their manifesto, FE Week

Liberal Democrats manifesto Stop Brexit and Build a Brighter Future - sector response, FE News

College funding: Which subjects will get £120m boost?, TES

Revealed: The subjects that qualify for extra post-16 funding, Schools Week

ESFA announce 16-18 funding uplift for ‘crucial’ subjects, FE Week

October 2019

Sixth form staff march across Westminster to protest for fairer college funding, FE Week

Union to present £700m sixth form college invoice to DfE, FE Week

Sixth-form college staff strike over pay and conditions, TES

September 2019

Funding pledge leaves schools where they were 13 years ago – report , itv news

Funding boost for sixth forms and colleges is £1.1bn short of cash needed to reverse cuts, IFS says, Independent

Boris Johnson’s school funding pledge exposed as unprecedented ‘squeeze on schools’, The London Economic

Funding pledge leaves schools where they were 13 years ago – report, BT news

Colleges still £1.1bn short since 2010 despite chancellor’s boost, IFS finds, FE week

IFS: £1.1bn needed to reverse FE funding cuts, TES

Williamson’s bold claims of putting FE centre stage will be held to account – and what about adult learning?, FE Week

Chancellor of the Exchequer’s speech detailing the #SpendingReview - Sector Response, FE News

Spending review: Extra £10m for ESOL courses, FE Week

Chancellor announces £400 million investment for 16-19 year olds’ education - Sector Response, FE News

August 2019

College funding boost to be announced tomorrow, TES

FE base rate to increase from August 2020 for first time since 2013 to £4,188, FE Week

£400m boost for colleges: 16-18 funding finally raised, TES

Colleges receive £400m boost from chancellor Sajid Javid, FE Week

#SpendingReview - 93 MPs sign letter urging Chancellor to #RaisetheRate and prioritise investment in 16 to 18 education, FE News

Wyke Principal Paul Britton on A Level Results Day sharing why it's so important to Raise the Rate, Sky News

July 2019

Raise the 16-18 funding rate urges Education Select Committee, TES

MPs urge DfE to ‘urgently’ raise the 16-18 rate and develop a 10-year funding plan, FE Week

Raise the rate for 16-19 funding, say MPs, TES

June 2019

Revealed: The 17 colleges to share £2.5m in final strategic improvement funding round , FE Week

May 2019

EPI: Proportion of sixth form colleges with in-year deficits rockets fivefold in six-year period, FE Week

EPI: Colleges stung by 'sharp, real-terms decline in funding,' TES

April 2019 

Thelma Walker: Take action now over the funding crisis , Yorkshire Post

Increase 16-19 funding by ‘significant amount’, Social Mobility Commission urges, FE Week

Opinion: John Cryer MP - listen to the Raise the Rate campaign, Ilford Recorder

Select committee chair and skills minister clash over Spending Review strategy, FE Week 

March 2019

French rocks — this is no time for schools to drop your ouis and nons, Evening Standard

A-level courses 'cut in sixth-form funding squeeze', BBC News

Sixth forms drop languages A-levels due to inadequate funding, The Guardian

Gateway radio interview with SFCA's Deputy Chief Executive, James Kewin on the Funding Impact Survey

Learning languages is about more than vocabulary tests – it gives you insight into a culture beyond your own, i News

LBC interview with SFCA CEO Bill Watkin on the Funding Impact Survey

New survey highlights damaging impact of funding cuts on sixth form students, FE News

Half of sixth forms forced to drop modern languages, Edexec

Cash-strapped sixth forms dropping language A-Levels, The Week

Half of sixth forms cut language courses, TES

Funding impact survey exposes cuts to mental health and careers support, Fe Week

AoC increases funding rate demands after crunching the T-level numbers, FE Week

Minister says write to me about shortage of money, Henley Standard

February 2019

164 MPs lobbying Chancellor for more FE funding, FE Week

January 2019

James Kewin talks sixth form funding and the raise the rate campaign, BBC radio Sheffield radioSkills minister speaks about the Raise the Rate campaign at SFCA winter conferenceHartlepool MP Mike Hill calls for more investment in schools and colleges, Hartlepool MailDaniel Zeichner discusses debate on college funding with BBC Look EastDebate will be FE's chance to push for real change' TESColleges contratulated as FE funding tops DfE's correspondence league tables, FE Week

Portsmouth MP calls on Government for better support for colleges, Stephen Morgan blog

Horsham school and college leaders discuss education funding crisis, West Sussex County Times

Campaign in the News 2018


Page Downloads Date  
SFCA Briefing for MPs - Westminster Hall debate February 2020 24th Feb 2020 Download
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