To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to page 11 of the Industrial Strategy, what assessment she has made of the effect of funding cuts to the Adult Skills Budget since 2010 on the ability to establish a technical education system that rivals the best in the world.
The Adult Education Budget (AEB), introduced in 2016-17, replaced three separate funding lines: funding for adult vocational education outside of apprenticeships (previously held within the Adult Skills Budget), Community Learning and Discretionary Learner Support. We have maintained funding for the AEB in cash terms at £1.5 billion for this year to support adult skills participation. In the 2017-18 financial year, the overall funding for adult Further Education and skills (excluding capital) is £3.4 billion. This £3 billion will be available to directly support learning (this includes funding for offender learning which is now the responsibility of Ministry of Justice). This is set out in the Skills Funding Letter 2017-18 which can be viewed here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/skills-funding-letter-april-2017-to-march-2018.
Furthermore, in the Spring 2017 Budget, the government announced the investment of an additional £500 million per year in England’s technical education system once T levels have been fully rolled out. We announced £20 million to help providers prepare for the delivery of T levels and to help teachers prepare for these changes.
In the first wave of reforms to technical education, we are focussing on developing T levels as high quality level 3 technical study programmes for 16 to 19 year olds. We will consider how we adapt T levels so they are appropriate for adult learners and will review technical provision at levels 4 and 5. On 30 November we published a consultation setting out proposals for T levels and the wider reformed technical education system. It seeks views on how best to implement the reforms to make sure they are a success and meet the aims of the Sainsbury Report and the Post-16 Skills Plan.