5,000 signatures reached
To: Secretary of State for Education
Save Sixth Form Colleges in England from extinction
We call on the Secretary of State for Education to reverse the Governments decision on Area Based Reviews of Sixth Form College 16-19 Education. The Area Based Reviews are forcing many local Sixth Form Colleges to merge or federate with FE.
Why is this important?
The findings of SFCA funding impact survey report 2015 indicates the future of Sixth Form Colleges in England is under serious threat as a result of Government cuts to the sector’s funding. Many Sixth Form College leaders fear for the future of their students and their institutions - 70% do not believe the amount of funding they are likely to receive in 2016 will be sufficient to provide students with a high quality education, and 83% do not believe it will enable them to provide the support required by students that are educationally or economically disadvantaged.
Almost all leaders (96%) are either extremely concerned or concerned about the financial health of their college and strikingly, more than a third (36%), reported that it was either extremely likely or likely that their college will cease to be a going concern by 2020.
The survey also indicates that 72% of Sixth Form Colleges have had to drop courses as a result of the three funding cuts imposed since 2011. Over a third of Sixth Form Colleges (39%) have been forced to drop courses in modern foreign languages, with A levels in German, Spanish and French the main casualties. Almost a quarter of colleges (24%) have cut STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and maths).
More than three quarters of colleges (76%) have reduced or removed the extra-curricular activities available to students including sport, music and drama, and educational visits. In total, 81% of colleges are now teaching students in larger class sizes as a result of the funding cuts.
The report also questions the Government’s policy of reducing the number of Sixth Form Colleges while expanding the number of school and academy sixth forms – despite evidence they are less effective and less efficient than Sixth Form Colleges.
Commenting on the report, James Kewin, Deputy Chief Executive said:
“This report highlights the damage to students caused by the three funding cuts imposed on Sixth Form Colleges since 2011. The sector cannot survive on starvation rations, and without more investment, Sixth Form Colleges will be unable to provide young people with the high quality education they need to progress to higher education and employment.
“The Government should conduct an urgent review of funding across all stages of education and end the funding inequalities that exist between Sixth Form Colleges and school/academy sixth forms – particularly the absence of a VAT refund scheme that, according to our report, left the average Sixth Form College with £317,964 less to spend on the front line education of students last year.”