The Chichester College Group has welcomed new review of post-18 education and funding, which was published today (30 May).
The long-awaited review, which was conducted by an independent panel chaired by Philip Augar, makes a number of recommendations for Government to consider which would improve the quality and capability of further education (FE) across the country.
The recommendations include:
- The reversal of the 17.5% reduction in funding for 18-year-olds studying at FE colleges;
- The reintroduction of maintenance grants for disadvantaged students studying at either college or university at higher national diploma, or degree level;
- Full funding for level 2 and 3 qualifications for all adults (such as A-levels or vocational diplomas). Currently only adults aged 19-23 have these qualifications fully funded; and
- The creation £1bn capital fund for investment in further education estate and equipment.
Shelagh Legrave OBE, Chief Executive of the Chichester College Group, said: “We welcome the findings and recommendations made in today’s Augar Review.
“The review recognises the important role that FE colleges – like ours – play in providing education and training in our local communities. We deliver qualifications from right across the board, from GCSEs, A-levels, apprenticeships and diplomas to degree-level qualifications.
“This review recommends fairer funding for students over 18, and seeks to improve educational opportunities for people of all ages.
“It also seeks to address the widening skills gaps that we are seeing in industry across the country, by suggesting provision of more funding for qualifications which will retrain or provide new skills to adults in industries where there are shortages of skilled workers.
“If we are serious about improving the future of skills, the Government has to be serious about supporting colleges. Hopefully the Augar Review is a step in the right direction.
“We have been encouraged by the statements released by Government, in response to the report but we wait to see what this will mean in real terms.
“Colleges already contribute so much to the fabric of people’s lives – providing education and training to people of all ages, from across all walks of life, and creating an environment where everyone can achieve their potential.
“Imagine what we could achieve if we, as a sector, received sufficient funding and support.”
The Chichester College Group, which is the largest college group in Sussex and manages Chichester College, Crawley College, Worthing College and Brinsbury College, educates and trains more than 20,000 students a year.
It was recently revealed to be the number one further education college group in Sussex for achievement rates, with results for 2017/18 for Chichester College, Crawley College and Brinsbury College showing as 86.1% (above the national average).
The Group’s apprenticeship achievement rate ranked higher than other college apprenticeship provider in Sussex.
The group also achieved the Teaching Excellence Framework Silver award for its Higher Education provision in 2018.
Shelagh added: “We are exceptionally proud of our achievements over the past year. These are a direct reflection of the hard work and dedication of our staff across all of our campuses – and have been achieved under increasingly difficult financial conditions.
“The FE sector has faced cuts in funding since 2011, but we continue to strive to improve and develop. However, we can only do so much.
“We hope the Augar Review will see much needed changes in the way FE is funded and supported.”