Along with six associations representing schools, colleges and students, NGA has written to the Chancellor of the Exchequer calling for additional funding to address serious concerns about the future of sixth form education.
The letter calls on the chancellor to increase the budget by £244 million a year (£200 per student) to arrest the continuing shortfall in sixth form funding. The letter states that without additional funds “there will be more cuts to courses, class sizes will continue to increase, and school sixth forms in rural areas will simply disappear.” An additional £244 million in 16 – 19 funding per year would be used to improve the study skills and employability of students as well as providing additional enrichment activities, better student mental/physical health provision and careers advice, according to the letter. It adds “23% of A level students from state schools and colleges progress to the most selective universities in 2014/15, compared to 65% of students from the independent sector.”
“The education of young people is critical to the Government’s commitment to improving the skills of the UK population, boosting productivity and improving social mobility. However, funding drops by 21% when a young person reaches the age of 16 and this reduces the number of hours of teaching and support that students can benefit from - schools and colleges are united in the view that busy students are successful students”, the letter continues.
Read the letter here
Findings from the recent NGA/TES annual school governance survey 2017 echo the concerns in the letter with governors and trustees from around 900 schools with sixth forms stating the impact of funding:
• 78% of stand-alone secondary schools with a sixth-form, compared to 76% without, believe that funding pressures cannot be absorbed without an adverse impact on the quality of education provided
• 64% of those in secondary schools with sixth forms said that they have made redundancies in the past 12 months, compared to 57% of those in secondary schools without sixth forms
• Only 19% say that restricted sixth form funding has had no impact on the curriculum offer provided to students
• Describing the impact of funding, 57.1% of sixth forms have reduced the number of subjects on offer; 27.6% have reduced the number of teaching staff; 26.2% have reduced the number of qualifications; and 26.9% have increased sixth form class sizes
• 28.5% subsidise sixth form provision from the 11-16 budget.
Emma Knights, Chief Executive of the National Governance Association (NGA) said:
“The NGA is committed to matching funding with expectations across the education sector. The 2017 Annual Governance survey report, which will be released tomorrow, shows that 57.1% of respondents with sixth forms have had to reduce the number of subjects on offer due to funding restraints. Over a quarter of respondents with sixth forms have also: increased class-sizes, reduced the number of sixth-form teaching staff and reduced the number of post-16 qualifications on offer. This is why the NGA support a rise of £200 per sixth-form student. This would be a modest but important step in the right direction.”
The joint signatories to the letter are the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL); The National Union of Students (NUS); Freedom and Autonomy for Schools – National Association (FASNA); the Grammar School Heads’ Association (GSHA); the Sixth Form Colleges Association (SFCA); and the Association of Colleges (AoC).
This letter forms part of a wider campaign, supported by the NGA, to “support our sixth-formers”. As well as the £200 per student additional funding, the campaign also calls for a review into sixth form spending to make sure that the provision currently in the system is enough to deliver a rounded, high quality curriculum. For more information, see the support our sixth-formers webpage, which includes the campaign manifesto. In addition, support the campaign by writing to your MP and tweeting using the hashtag #SupportOurSixthFormers.