Peter Aldous highlights a gap in support available for colleges such as East Coast College and calls for access to covid catch-up funding for 16-to-19 education providers.
The Government have moved very quickly to improve education funding and to support the young people who have been left behind. A gap in support that I would like briefly to highlight is that for 16 to 19-year-olds. In Lowestoft all such education is provided at East Coast College.
It is good news that last autumn per student funding for 16 to 19-year-olds was increased, and that money is being provided for capital projects, but it is a concern that 16 to 18-year-olds are not able to access the covid catch-up fund. In Lowestoft, there is a big disadvantage gap that prevents young people from realising their full potential. Work is being done at all ages to eliminate this, including in the 16-to-19 age group, where East Coast College is in the vanguard, bringing in a range of initiatives. Nevertheless, the challenge is significant.
Covid-19 has provided a further unwelcome obstacle to closing the disadvantage gap. Many students leaving school at year 11 have either missed or had an iniquitous school year. They will be moving on with a lot of catching up to do, and colleges such as East Coast will have to provide extra teaching this autumn. At present, there is no funding for this. To address this unfairness—to remove this obstacle—it is important that before the end of term, the Government confirm that all 16-to-18 providers can access covid catch-up funding on the same terms as for 11 to 16-year-olds.
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