Funding increases for education for 16 to 18 year olds

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Ed Balls has announced that all nine regions in England will receive increased allocations to fund 55,000 more 16 to 18 year olds in school sixth forms and colleges.

The regions have been allocated a share of the total £6.48bn investment for 2010/11, representing a 4.2 per cent year-on-year increase to fund 1.35 million students aged 16 to 18. This investment was included in the £8.2bn for all forms of 16-18 learning announced in the Learning and Skills Council's Annual Statement of Priorities in January.

The investment in education for 16-18 year olds means the Government will spend £1.59bn more next year than it did in 2005/06, funding almost 188,000 more students than five years ago.

The £6.48bn investment includes:

  • £4.03bn for Further Education providers, including Foundation Learning - a 3.9 per cent rise overall from 2009/10. There will be 913,000 Further Education students aged 16 to 18 in 2010/11, up 3.3 per cent from last year.
  • £2.2bn for school sixth forms, including Academy sixth forms - a 5.4 per cent rise overall from 2009/10. There will be 440,000 students in these sixth forms in 2010/11, up 6.3 per cent from last year. The final £37m for Academies is still to be allocated.

Schools Secretary Ed Balls said: "The extra funding for schools' sixth forms, Academies and Further Education, for every region in England, is vital because of the increase in student numbers and means we are continuing to support them.

"With the number of young people choosing to stay in learning increasing, investing in this area is the right thing to do.

"At the same time I am expecting sixth forms, Academies and Further Education colleges to take tough decisions to make sure they get the best value for every pound they spend."

The DCSF is also investing:

  • £780m for apprenticeships
  • £267m for specialist provision for 16 to 25 year olds with learning difficulties or disabilities
  • £677m for Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) and discretionary learner support.

On top of the 1.35 million young people aged 16 to 18 in school sixth forms, Academies and colleges, there are:

  • 223,000 apprenticeship places for 16 to 18 year olds where allocations are still ongoing
  • 25,000 places in alternative and specialist provision, including that for young offenders and those aged 16 to 25 with acute learning difficulties and disabilities

Latest figures show the proportion of 16 to 18 year olds not in education, employment or training (NEET) falling, with the proportion of young people in that age group in education and training at 82.6 per cent (1.581 million) compared to 79.2 per cent (1.562 million) at the same point a year ago - up 3.4 percentage points. For the fourth quarter of 2009-10, the proportions of young people in learning have risen at age 16 (up three per cent), age 17 (up three per cent) and age 18 (up 3.6 per cent) to their highest levels respectively since 2000, when the series began.

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