Further Education: Finance

Department for Education written question – answered on 13th June 2022.

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Photo of Navendu Mishra Navendu Mishra Opposition Whip (Commons)

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if his Department will offer an income guarantee for colleges where student numbers were impacted by the grade inflation in last summer’s exams which led to young people staying in school sixth forms.

Photo of Alex Burghart Alex Burghart The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education

The Autumn Budget and Spending Review 2021 has made available an extra £1.6 billion for 16-19 education in the 2024/25 financial year, compared with the 2021/22 financial year. As part of this, significant increases were made to funding rates for the 2022/23 academic year, including:

  • Increasing the 16-19 national funding rate for students aged 16 and 17, and students aged 18 and over, with high needs in band 5, from £4,188 to £4,542, with other funding rates also receiving an increase.
  • Increasing the high value courses premium from £400 to £600.
  • Increasing programme cost weightings in five subject areas considered to be under-weighted.
  • Increasing the disadvantage funding rate for students who have low prior attainment.

Funding for the 2022/23 academic year is based on student numbers in 2021/22. Provisional data suggests that further education colleges, not including sixth form colleges, had in aggregate a fall of just over 1% in their 16-19 students in the 2021/22 academic year, compared with the previous year, which has had an impact on funding. However, the higher funding rates mean that despite this slight fall in student numbers, colleges will see a significant increase in funding in the 2022/23 academic year. The department expects to see only a small proportion of colleges with a reduction in funding for 16-19 students in the 2022/23 academic year, compared with the 2021/22 academic year, when allocations are published.

The department recognises that colleges are facing financial pressures from increased costs, including the extra hours for 16-19 students, which will be delivered from the 2022/23 academic year onwards. Each year, the department looks to put in place exceptional in-year growth funding, subject to affordability. This is to help providers seeing a significant increase in students. The department will be looking carefully at what can be put in place to help colleges in the 2022/23 academic year.

Where colleges are at risk of running out of funding, emergency funding is considered on a case-by-case basis. It is based on a thorough assessment of each college's circumstances and on the minimum funding needed to minimise disruption to learners.

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