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NATFHE responds to funding review


NATFHE has given a cautious welcome to improved funding for further education colleges, and the extra £1.25 billion a year for scientific and technological research. However, MATFHE stated that the Department for Education and Skills’ silence on overall university funding and HE student support is 'worrying'.

NATFHE wants to see a clear funding commitment to the government’s target of opening access to 50% of under 30’s. The post-92 universities are at the heart of widening access to disadvantaged students, but NATFHE says it cannot support under-resourced expansion plans. It estimates that £756 million is needed in this three year period to fund the government’s targets for widening participation.

NATFHE also welcomed the government target of creating 300,000 modern apprenticeships for 16 to 21 year olds is also a positive step, but warned that the entitlement for young people to train had to be matched by the responsibility of employers to support and encourage their studies.

The union hailed the end to the yearly 1% efficiency savings demanded of further education colleges as a positive step. The union called the 1% increase each year in core funding for colleges a ‘moderate improvement’.

One area of concern identified by the union was the growing inability of colleges to recruit and retain high quality, motivated teaching staff. NATFHE emphasised the need for improvements in staff pay.

NATFHE General Secretary Paul Mackney said: "FE colleges are already vigorously measured, inspected and tested. We want to see all extra funds supporting teaching and learning – not added bureaucracy and red tape. The whole lifelong learning project will collapse unless the pay gap between colleges and schools is bridged.

"We had hoped to see some specifics regarding increases in university funding per student - across the board as well as for widening access. And while we welcome the extension of EMAs, we regret the government’s failure to ease the burden of HE student debt."


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