Funding implications on 16-19 education

The influential Education Policy Institute (EPI) think tank has released its report ‘16-19 education funding: trends and implications’. This is their latest assessment of the state of funding for sixth form education – drawing clear lines from the current financial state of the sector to the implications for delivery of learning.

So what have they found?

It should be of no surprise to anyone in the sector that education for 16 to 19 year olds has experienced the sharpest cuts compared to early years, primary or secondary or higher education. This has meant that real terms funding per student in sixth forms and colleges has fallen sharply by 16% from 2010/11 to 2018/19, twice the decline of schools.

The EPI has also found that sixth forms and colleges are increasingly falling into deficit, with the financial health of providers significantly deteriorating since 2010/11, the proportion of those with in-year deficits has increased across all institutions. This has been reflected with the recent spate of financial warning notices issued to further education providers.

And the impact of this? Student learning hours and staff wages have both deteriorated. Learning hours with a teacher for students in all institutions has fallen by 9 per cent between 2012/13 and 2016/17.

With this in mind, it’s clear that as a sector, we support the EPIs recommendations that the chancellor revisits post 16 funding in his spending review, to ensure that all learners have access to fair funding, regardless of the institution they study in.

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