CUTS to sixth form funding would put a real strain on local colleges according to Solihull’s MP Lorely Burt.
Last month, schools and colleges received letters saying that the budget for 16-18 year-olds would be reduced.
If the Government were to go ahead with these provisional settlements, Solihull’s own Sixth Form College would lose around £150,000 from its budget.
This sum could fund the education of 51 students or four to five teaching posts for a full year.
Now Mrs Burt has written to Education Minister Jim Knight, urging the Government to stump up enough money to teach a rising number of students.
Mrs Burt said: “Cuts of this order would clearly be very damaging as increasing numbers of young people seek to enrol for courses to improve their employment prospects in a shrinking jobs market.
“I have written asking him to ensure that the increase in student numbers is fully funded across the board. It does not inspire confidence when principals are told out of the blue that their per capita funding will be cut when they have already budgeted for the year ahead.”
Yesterday the Sixth Form College, Solihull confirmed they had originally been promised funding for 2,567 teenagers. This was then revised to 2,516.
Principal Paul Ashdown strongly endorsed Mrs Burt’s letter.
“The proposed funding allocation for the Sixth Form College means that we will not be in a position to expand in order to fully meet the increased applications we expect this year,” he explained.
“More students than ever before have already applied to study at the college, and without this extra funding the college will not be able to take on the new staff required to teach these students. As a result, only students who have already applied to the college can be certain that places will be available for them in September.”
Since the allocations were announced, the Learning and Skills Council has insisted that the settlements are not final. Mr Knight meanwhile, has said that he would consider options for further funding.