Letter submitted by Martin Doel, Chief
Executive, Association of Colleges, dated 2 June 2011|
The Young People's Learning Agency is currently consulting
informally on proposals for changing the funding formula and system
for 2012-13. A full public consultation is scheduled to start
in June. We understand that Department for Education Ministers
and officials have received many representations on funding and
have concluded that the formula is too complicated. They would
also like to create a "pupil premium" which covers 16-18
The areas of possible change are:
the current disadvantage factor used in post-16 funding into a
post-16 pupil premium. The plan would be to implement this in
2012-13 and might involve a different basis for identifying who
is eligible, possibly using the ICACI index in place of the Index
of Multiple Deprivation.
number of funding rates (possibly as few as six compared to 1,000+
now) to achieve Alison Wolf's recommendation that qualifications
should not drive budgets.
the success rate from the formula and, instead, allocating funding
to a combination of enrolments and completions. There is particular
pressure from schools for this because the current system of calculating
school success rates produces errors.
the way in which high-cost Additional Learner Support is allocated
to reflect policy decisions from the SEN Green Paper.
It is possible that changes will be implemented over
several years but 16-18 education is in some flux at present for
the following reasons:
are planned cuts in funding per student, which were masked by
97% transitional relief in 2011-12.
was a shortfall in 16-18 enrolments against DfE expectations in
2010-11 and the winding up of Education Maintenance Allowances
(EMAs) could cause further problems in 2011-12, particularly as
local council services , such as advice and guidance, are also
are continuing curriculum changes including those stemming from
the collapse of the diploma and the implementation of the Wolf
is growing competition from new providers and new provision, including
new schools, new Sixth Forms and the expansion in apprenticeships.
conversion of the YPLA to become an Education Funding Agency and
the rapid increase in the number of academies changes the focus
of the main 16-18 funding organisation.
Colleges are still awaiting confirmation of how much
funding they will receive for the Bursary, and therefore remain
unable to properly develop criteria on which to distribute the
Bursary to students. As you know, DfE will be issuing and some
Colleges are already developing a region-wide approach, for example
in London, and we plan to publish some informal advice to our
members on Bursary too. We still believe that discretion remains
important to enable Colleges to reflect their local circumstances.
We also believe the DfE should inform local authorities that there
is no legal impediment to providing access for Colleges and schools
to the list of Year 11 pupils in their area who were in receipt
of free school meals (FSM). Although we recognise that there are
problems with using FSM data as a proxy for disadvantage, it could
be a useful tool for schools and Colleges.
You asked for examples of where local authorities
might be reducing transport support. One such example is Lincolnshire
County Council which has redrawn the travel boundaries and designated
nearest Colleges and sixth forms. This means students will only
receive subsidised transport to the nearest designated College,
irrespective of whether that College offers the course the student
wishes to do. The cost of travel, even when subsidised, has also