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Further Education Funding

Volume 651: debated on Tuesday 11 December 2018

4. What recent discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Education on the adequacy of funding for further education. (908124)

I regularly meet the Secretary of State for Education to discuss school and FE funding issues. We have protected the base rate of funding for 16 to 17-year-olds between 2015 and 2020.

The national funding rate for 16 to 18-year-olds has been frozen for five years. That is beginning to cause significant problems in delivering for this age group. Will the Government do something about it before it is too late?

What is important is that we are achieving better results for 16 to 18-year-olds. We are seeing more young people from disadvantaged backgrounds going to university and improvements in the quality of apprenticeships that are being taken up by young people. We are also putting extra money into the new T-levels, which are due to improve technical education.

Our FE colleges are great poverty-fighting institutions that provide vital ladders of opportunity for our constituents. Given that school pay rises have been fully funded and FE has only had 0.1%, is there not a case for parity of esteem for teachers in FE colleges?

It was indeed very good that we were able to give teachers, particularly those on the lowest wages, a 3.5% pay rise this year—the highest pay rise seen for a decade. FE colleges are set up differently. They are independent institutions that have the wherewithal to change the pay for lecturers who work within them.