Rules out… for Easter

Having eagerly awaited the latest version of the Adult Education Budget (AEB) Funding rules, we were delighted to see them published before the Easter break.

More importantly, we were pleased to see that the rules remain largely unchanged. There appears to be some minor amendments, rather than significant wholesale changes.

This is absolutely the right decision, for a number of reasons. AEB is still a relatively new budget, which needs time to adjust. Successive governments have been criticised for continually tweaking new policies, and it’s great to see the government providing some stability.

With so much change happening in other areas of education and skills, it will be of comfort to colleges and providers that they don’t have another change to which they must adapt. It also means that civil service capacity is focused in the right areas as we all seek to ensure the reforms work. 

Finally, it was not in the government’s interest to make any changes. There was a £63m underspend in the Adult Education Budget in the last academic year. There was therefore no need to make any savings from the budget, and we hope to see the amount of underspend reduce significantly over the next couple of years.

Adult learning is slowly making its way back into the spotlight. In the next few years we will see devolution of the Adult Education Budget and the introduction of the National Retraining Scheme. It’s great to have some stability as we prepare to work with the government to ensure that adult learners have the right opportunities.