NGA is one of twelve organisations supportnig the Raise the Rate campaign that have jointly written to the Chancellor of the Exchequer urging the government to “address the funding crisis in 16 to 18 education.”
The letter details recent cuts to post-16 funding and says, “This sustained underinvestment in sixth form education is having a negative impact on the education of students, the financial health of schools and colleges, and the ability of government to achieve its ambitions for the economy and society.”
Findings from our School Governance in 2018 report support this view, with governors and trustees telling us about the drastic action they are taking in response to funding pressures. This includes:
- 67% of those governing sixth forms said that the number of subjects on offer had been reduced (2017: 57%)
- 34% of respondents had reduced the number of teaching staff in their sixth forms (2017: 28%)
- 36% of respondents had reduced the number of qualifications on offer in their sixth form (2017: 26%)
- 32% of respondents said that sixth form class sizes had been increased (2017: 17%)
- For the first time, respondents were asked whether they had reduced the extra-curricular opportunities on offer for sixth form pupils, which 19% had, and whether contact time for sixth form pupils had been reduced, which 20% said that it had.
Calling for action in both the near term and long term, the letter concludes, “next year’s spending review provides the ideal vehicle to implement this important change. However, as an increase announced next year would not take effect until 2020/21, we urge you to agree to increase the national funding rate by at least 5% (£200 per student) in next week’s Budget.”
Tom Fellows, senior research lead at NGA has written this blog detailing why NGA is supporting the Raise The Rate campaign.
Emma Knights, chief executive of the National Governance Association said: “Many sixth-forms and schools have tried all available options to use their funding more efficiently and their governors and trustees are now forced into a position where they must make difficult and damaging decisions. The underfunding of schools means that some sixth-forms have needed to narrow their curriculum offer, reduce the number of teaching staff, and increase class sizes. It is deeply worrying that only one in five governors and trustees now say that they are confident that funding pressures can be managed without adversely impacting the quality of education provided to young people. We urge the government to invest in the future of young people now by raising the rate for 16-19 providers, as part of an overall increase in school funding.”