Extra funding for sixth forms

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The Chancellor has eased fears that sixth forms and colleges in England will have to cut places this September thanks to a £655 million funding announcement in the Budget. This additional money will help tackle youth unemployment and ensure continued investment in skills through the downturn.

The announcement will reassure school and college leaders who were concerned that their financial allocations would not fund the recent unanticipated surge in the number of young people wanting to continue learning.

The announcement means that the September Guarantee of a place in education and training for every 16 and 17-year-old who wants one will be met. There will be additional investment of £251 million in 2009-10 and £404 million in 2010-11 to allow 54,400 more young people to take up a guaranteed place at school or college or with a training provider in 2009 and 2010. It will take the total number of young people able to take a place of their choice to a record level of more than 1,550,000. This is the highest number of post 16 learners ever.In addition, a further £80 million will be prioritised from the Department for Children, Schools and Families capital budgets over the next two years to support college capital projects which benefit 16-19 year olds.

Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families, Ed Balls, said:“This announcement means that 54,400 more young people will be able to study or train, more than we had planned for last year.

“Encouraging young people to stay on in education or training is vital to ensure we are well placed for economic recovery. We have already announced funding for 17,500 extra apprenticeships for young people so the new funding announced today will mean that 72,000 more young people will have an education and training place this year.

“As well as giving schools and colleges the reassurance that the growth they have already seen this year will be funded, today’s announcement means that we can ensure that young people not in education, employment or training get new opportunities to learn.”

The additional funding was announced at the same time as the Department for Children, Schools and Families agreed to achieve £650 million worth of additional efficiency savings in 2010-11 as part of the Treasury’s £5 billion efficiency savings. This comes on top of the £4.5 billion of efficiencies we had already committed to achieving in the 2007 spending review. These will include:

  • alongside higher learner numbers and increased investment, an average 1 per cent efficiency saving per student for post-16 learners in 2010 -11;
  • requiring greater savings from Non Departmental Public Bodies and underspending programmes.
  • Additional savings are being identified as part of a rolling value for money programme advised by Mr Richard Handover, alongside the Treasury’s Public Value and Operational Efficiency Programmes.

These efficiency savings will be made without any change to the three year budgets already announced for individual schools or for key frontline programmes identified in the Spending Review and Children’s Plan.

Ed Balls added: “We have looked very hard at our budgets to identify ways we can be more efficient. We will not cut budgets we have allocated to schools or key programmes but, more than ever, we expect public services to be efficient and deliver high levels of value for money.”

The additional funding for 16-18 year olds will be allocated by the Learning and Skills Council. The LSC will write to individual schools and colleges shortly to confirm their funding and next steps.