I beg to move,
That this House
has considered 16 to 19 education funding.
It is a pleasure to see you in the Chair, Mr Hanson. I am pleased to move this debate and to see so many hon. and right hon. Members here on a Thursday afternoon to show their interest in this important subject. Let me start by declaring my interest in and passion for 16-to-19 learning.
I have worked in post-16 education most of my life and seen a multitude of times how high-quality learning transforms the life chances of young people. When elected to serve as Scunthorpe’s MP, leaving my job as principal of John Leggott College, post-16 education was in a pretty good place with a relevant, dynamic, personalised curriculum and relatively decent funding to support a broad and balanced education with appropriate extra-curricular activities, guidance and support. Education maintenance allowance acted as a significant driver of ever-improving student achievement and social mobility.
Sadly, in the seven years I have been in Parliament, the challenge for post-16 leadership has become significantly greater, driven by huge, ongoing and accelerating financial pressures. The cuts to 16-to-19 education funding introduced in 2011, 2013 and 2014 have proved particularly damaging. The average sixth form college lost 17% of its funding before inflation. If John Leggott College, which celebrates 50 years of providing outstanding education to the young people of north Lincolnshire this year, was funded at 2010 levels today, it would have £1.2 million more in this year’s budget. That is astounding.