The education system in our country is being sacrificed in the name of austerity...
Spending per student in further education has fallen by eight per cent in real-terms since 2009. The adult learning budget has slashed by 45 per cent. Over a million adult learners have been lost.
Further education colleges make a vital contribution to both our education system and our economy. Cuts to per student spending, coupled with a 25 per cent reduction in real-terms teacher pay is wreaking havoc in the recruitment and retention of staff.
This issue is compounded by the recent ring-fenced Teachers’ Pay Grant for schools which was not extended to further education colleges.
The government need to invest in colleges to fund a fair pay deal, and to increase sustainable resource levels for the future. Any investments in schools, should be mirrored in colleges. Everyone should have the right to a fair education.
A 45 per cent fall in the adult learning budget takes the power away from those who want to study, retrain or improve their skills. We need to give power back to the individual.
Sir Vince Cable, leader of the Liberal Democrats, has set out his vision to create a system which can be used at any stage in life to further educational training.
He said: “Under my leadership, our party will be the champions of lifelong learning, giving everyone a chance of self-improvement and employment at every stage in life.”
In March, the Independent Commission on Lifelong Learning (ICLL) was launched to investigate the “best ways” to make sure adults have “access to learning and retraining throughout their lives”.
It will consider “bold ideas” such as individual learning accounts and consider other options to increase access to further education, online learning, part-time study and retraining services.
Wera said: “At the bottom of a functioning society is an education system. Our system has been cut to the point of cruelty. We need to give pupils and teachers the funding they need to have the best chance of success. We must all band together and say enough is enough. I am excited about the ICLL and look forward to hearing about what they find out”.