Funding pressures risk turning sixth form education into a narrow and part time experience according to a report published today by the Sixth Form Colleges Association (SFCA).
SFCA’s annual funding impact survey indicates that two thirds (66%) of Sixth Form Colleges have already dropped courses as a result of funding cuts and cost increases. Over a third of colleges (39%) have dropped courses in modern foreign languages, with A levels in German, French and Italian the main casualties.
The majority of Sixth Form Colleges (58%) have also reduced or removed the extra-curricular activities available to students including music and drama, sport and languages.
The combination of funding cuts and cost increases mean there is now a significant gap between the funding provided to educate sixth formers and the actual cost of delivering a high quality curriculum.
Funding for sixth formers in England is 20% lower than the funding for 11-16 year olds and 47% lower than the average university tuition fee. The report also contrasts the 15-17 hours of weekly tuition and support received by students in England with the 30+ hours received by students in Shanghai.
Sixth Form College leaders are particularly concerned about the potential impact on students that require additional support. Over two thirds of those surveyed
(64%) do not believe the amount of funding they will receive next year will be sufficient to provide the support required by students that are educationally or economically disadvantaged.
The vast majority of Sixth Form Colleges (90%) are either extremely concerned or concerned about the financial health of their college. This, and the other findings in the report, will make particularly troubling reading for the government as Sixth Form Colleges are the most effective and efficient providers of 16-18 education.
Commenting on the report, Bill Watkin, Chief Executive of the Sixth Form Colleges Association said:
“This report should act as a wake-up call to the government. The message from the most effective and efficient providers of sixth form education is clear - more investment from government is essential if Sixth Form Colleges, school and academy sixth forms are to continue providing young people with the high quality education they need to progress to higher education and employment.
“A review of sixth form funding is urgently required to ensure it is linked to the realistic costs of delivering a rounded, high quality curriculum. Failure to do this risks turning sixth form education into a narrow and part time experience. That would be bad for students, bad for society and bad for the economy”.
Click here to read the full report.
For more information please contact James Kewin, Deputy Chief Executive, firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Government warned of funding squeeze for sixth form colleges, PublicFinance
- Cutbacks force 90% of colleges to offer pupils only three AS-levels, The Guardian
- Nine in 10 sixth-form colleges 'concerned' about their finances, TES
- Two thirds of sixth form colleges forced to drop courses, FE Week
- A-levels choice 'reduced by funding squeeze', BBC News
- Area review process "flawed", claim SFCA, TES
- Today Programme, Radio 4 (from 02:33:00)
- Victoria Derbyshire (from 01:47:22)
- BBC Radio 5 live (from 02:17:40)