Education funding for 18-year-olds

Waveney MP Peter Aldous on Tuesday raised concerns about the Government’s plans to cut funding to 18 years olds in education and the impact that this could have in Lowestoft.

From the academic year 2014/15, the funding rate for learners over 18 years of age is being reduced by 17.5%.

Speaking in a Westminster Hall debate in the House of Commons, Mr Aldous pointed out that the funding cut will have a disproportionate impact in Lowestoft, where education and vocational training for this age group is only provided at Lowestoft College and Lowestoft Sixth Form College.

Mr Aldous made the following key points:

  • Lowestoft College and Lowestoft Sixth Form College are doing important work to raise standards of achievement in Suffolk, which often involves students staying on in education or training for an extra year.
  • All post 16 mainstream education in Lowestoft is provided in the two colleges.
  • The Association of College’s impact assessment confirms that the impact on colleges is more than seven times greater than the impact on schools sixth forms. With no school sixth forms in Lowestoft, the impact will be significant.
  • Lowestoft has a higher than average percentage of pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds living in deprived areas. Research by the Association of Colleges shows that 18-year-old learners are more likely to live in deprived areas than 16 or 17-year-old learners.
  • Being a coastal town, Lowestoft faces challenges in terms of the support and funding available in comparison to inter-city institutions.
  • Lowestoft College and Lowestoft Sixth Form College are relatively small and not as well placed to withstand the impact of such income reductions as larger colleges.

The Minister for Skills and Enterprise, Matthew Hancock, responded by confirming that the Government is in the process of looking at the impact of the proposal on colleges and is due to have discussions with individual colleges.

 

Mr Aldous commented:

“Whilst I understand that budgets are tight, as it stands this proposal has a disproportionate impact on Lowestoft College and Lowestoft Sixth Form College, who both play an important role in the town, raising educational standards and providing young people with the skills that they need to take up a variety of opportunities. I welcome the Minister’s offer to consider the specific challenges that individual colleges face and to come forward with measures that mitigate the impact of this proposal. I shall continue to work with the 2 colleges to find an acceptable way forward.”

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Surgeries

Peter holds regular surgeries at various locations in the constituency. Please call 01502 586568 to make an appointment.

Next Surgeries - 2018: 
Lowestoft, Wednesday 8th August

 

 

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