Select Committee on Education and Skills Minutes of Evidence

Annex A

Lewisham College

Recommendations of Education and Employment Select Committee on Further Education—Session 1997-98

Outstanding Issues

1.Criteria for the allocation of public money to further education should be made clear. The funding methodology has been tightened, for the purposes of clarity and probity—but it still remains complex. In particular, definitional issues are still around—is distance learning Work Based Learning or Lifelong Learning? NOTE: the sector awaits the promised new funding methodology from LSC (now months late).
2.Key areas for college funding are.
16-19 provision;
adult learning;
widening participation;
certain training relevant to employment;
basic skills.


Happened in spades.

Targeted growth has been funded too.
However, there remains two issues:
1.SLDD gets no particular mention and it should
2.Learning support about more than deprivation. It is also about supporting learners' learning needs. (Please see annex 2).
3.Non-vocational courses can be funded from other sources, such as local authorities and students themselves. The world has moved on! We live in the emerging LSC systems.   
4.Further Education should not have to face an efficiency saving any greater than that agreed for the higher education institutions—1 per cent an annum—£54 million in 1999-2000 This was delivered to the recommendation—1 per cent
However, this masks the static nature of the Average Level of Funding (ALF) which has not been uplifted for inflation. So the efficiency savings have been 3 per cent not 1 per cent.
However, for the first time the LSC has suggested that colleges use a 1.5 per cent of increase in ALF for future years' assumptions, so may be this is set to change.
NEED for unit of resource to keep pace with inflation.
5.FE should receive an additional £60 million per year to cover the cost of capital expenditure necessary to improve building stock and equipment, including information and communications technology. Yes—recommendation not only fulfilled, the sector did better than £60 million.   
6.FE sector's share of the 500,000 additional students whom the Government wishes to see enter F&HE by 2001-02 must be adequately funded. Estimated that the FE sector will receive about 430,000 of these—equivalent to 140,000 FTEs. FEFC funded each FTE at around £2,500 and therefore the increase would require about an additional £350 million per year by 2001-02. (Reductions in colleges' unit costs can be more easily achieved if they coincide with an expansion in student numbers.) Yes: recommendation accepted. Very good news—the growth is fully funded.   
7.Sector will also require additional funding to meet the cost of the introduction of a widening participation factor. FEFC stated that, on current funding levels and student numbers, the wp factor would cost about £40 million per annum. YES—and fully funded  
8.Additional funding will be needed if the widening participation factor is to be applied to the relevant proportion of the additional 430,000 students. Estimated to cost £10 million overall. YES—and fully funded.  

Student support
9.Decline in financial support for FE students runs counter to the aim of increasing participation in FE. Additional funding must be found for increased support for students, this support should be paid to students as a right and not be a matter for the discretion of local authorities or any other body. YES—recommendation accepted.
Available now is a vastly increased Access Fund
EMAs—making a difference
ILAs—now abandoned.
Funds Post16 are still problematic and are creating a divide between well funded and supported 16-19 and supported 19+.
10.Examine possibility of replacing child benefit currently paid to parents of 16 to 19 year olds in full-time education with student support grants.     
11.Long term objective—the Government should look to make available means-tested maintenance loans to FE students who are studying Work-related courses and that the recoverable part of expenditure on loans should be excluded from the public expenditure control total. No progress as yet but are we sure we want it? FE students do not go on to earn as much as graduates.   
12.Need to highlight the value of childcare provision in promoting access to FE. Hope that the additional £5 million given to increase childcare provision in FE colleges represents only the start of longer-term increases. Childcare funding increased: provision will always be tight for the need is so great—STILL NEEDS EXPANSION.     
13.Some simplification of funding formula necessary. Some progress, still waiting to see.  
14.Must make sure that funding system does not create perverse incentives or reward behaviour that runs counter to the core aims of the FE sector. Some progress, still waiting to see.Audit requirement keeps growing.
15.Post-codes may be crude way of targeting educational under-achievement. Further development necessary. For example lone parent status is now used as a measure. This is a crude but practical proxy.   
16.In favour of convergence although some measure of flexibility is required. By 2002, the ALFs of all colleges in the sector should fall within a range two and a half percentage points above or below a notional convergence figure. Nearing completion. This is now a dead issue.   

Funding of London Colleges
17.Welcome recommendations of FEFC's London costs group.   London Weighting still remains an issue and needs looking at again as it is damaging lecturer recruitment.
Level Playing Field for Post-16 funding

18.Not sensible to create a common currency for the funding of all post-16 education and training. Still not happening. Differential still exists between schools and colleges. NEEDS CHALLENGING.
19.Need to harmonise funding for full time 16-19 provision. This should be achieved by means of additional funding rather than levelling down. LSC doing exactly that? Harmonisation planned—lecturers' salaries a crippling issue.   
20.Establish common entitlement for 16-19 year old students—to include the kind of enrichment activities that are a key part of traditional school sixth form education. Achieved via Curriculum 2000.There is still a problem about standards v purpose eg AVCEs and Junior Access.
21.Principles of the FEFC's approach, including the emphasis on student guidance, retention and achievement, should underpin any common approach to funding criteria rather than the principles of the SSA system currently used to fund school sixth forms. Yes—not known yet.Any day now?

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