As the Secretary of State confirmed in his speech to the Association of Colleges annual conference in November 2006 we have, by 2006/7, reduced the funding gap between school sixth forms and FE colleges for comparable 16 to 18 provision by 5 per cent.. We committed in the FE White Paper to take further steps to narrow this funding gap by a further 3 per cent. by 2008 and beyond that to take steps to narrow the gap further as resources allow. For the longer term we plan to establish common funding arrangements for all 16 to 18 provision with comparable funding for comparable activity, irrespective of the type of institution providing the education and training. Our recent consultation on the creation of a demand led system included proposals for this common 16 to 18 funding approach. We are currently considering responses to the consultation and plan to implement changes in time for the 2008/09 academic year.
Per capita funding for full-time equivalent 16, 17 and 18-year-old learners in further education colleges in 2005-06 was £5,000. In 2006-07 we estimate this will rise to £5,100 but this will not be confirmed until final student numbers are available later in the year.
For 16, 17 and 18-year-olds in school sixth forms the level of funding per pupil was £4,900 in 2005-06, this rose to £5,200 in 2006-07.
Figures for school sixth forms and colleges are not directly comparable as a range of factors affects them including the mix of provision offered, achievement and retention levels and the location in which the provider is based. It is also impossible to get an entirely accurate full time equivalent learner figure for college students whereas for schools, as almost all pupils study full time in sixth forms, the pupil count is precise.
Data for 2007-08 will not be available until autumn 2007.