Wigan colleges amongst those needing more money

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A borough MP has called on the Prime Minister to increase education funding for sixth form students.


Makerfield MP Yvonne Fovargue raised the issue at Prime Minister’s Questions, calling on the government to increase the funding rate for 16 to 18 year olds, which has been frozen at £4,000 per student, per year since 2013.


The campaign uses recent research from London Economics to press for a £760 per student increase to sixth form funding that is raised in line with inflation each year.


The “Raise The Rate” campaign has been backed by 12 associations that represent school and college leaders, governors, students, teachers and support staff in England, and received a welcome boost when Ms Fovargue brought the issue to the attention of Parliament.


She said: “Winstanley College and St John Rigby are two award winning colleges that deliver fantastic results in challenging circumstances as cuts erode their core budgets.


“The reality is that without proper funding in place, then something has to give and it is our students who ultimately pay the price with courses cut and reduced opportunities for enrichment through pastoral care.”


The PM replied: “If you look across what we’ve been doing in funding for education overall, we have been putting extra money into funding.


“In FE (Further education), we have invested nearly £7bn this year to make sure there is an educational training place for every 16-19 year old who wants one.”


Ms Fovargue also highlighted the fact that due to the lack of funding increase, Winstanley had been forced to remove its German A-level course, and St John Rigby had “drastically reduced” its pastoral support.


The campaign uses recent research from London Economics to press for a £760 per student increase to sixth form funding that is raised in line with inflation each
year.


The associations behind the campaign claimed that “only a significant increase in the national funding rate for 16 to 18 year olds will make it possible for the government to meet its objectives for a strong post-Brexit economy and a socially mobile, highly educated workforce.”


The £760 increase is described as the “minimum required” to increase student support services to the required level, protect minority subjects such as languages that are at risk of being dropped, and increase extra-curricular activities, work experience opportunities and university visits.


To find out more about the campaign, visit raisetherate.org.uk