ColegauCymru / CollegesWales is concerned that colleges, which provide front line services to learners, have had to turn learners away every year and deliver more with less. This has meant having to make staff redundant, cutting courses, and enroling fewer adult learners. At a time of tightening resources it is right that the costs of administering come under scrutiny to make sure that as much money as possible benefits learners. The demand for learning is growing and the Welsh Assembly Government must do justice to its economy and to people’s aspirations and goals by funding colleges adequately.
Chief Executive of ColegauCymru / CollegesWales, Dr John Graystone, said: “Colleges are a front line education service. And they are being squeezed. Every year colleges have delivered more with less and have made year-on-year efficiencies.
“Over the past few years, they have raised standards – with higher quality learning and a higher proportion of learners achieving their learning goals. At the same time, the Welsh Assembly Government has given colleges less funding for each unit of learning delivered.
“ColegauCymru / CollegesWales has already set up a working group - with Welsh Assembly Government support - to make recommendations to reduce the amount of unnecessary regulation in the FE sector. We therefore very much welcome Leighton Andrews’ announcement that he will look to cut the costs of distributing education funding. We hope that this will stem the cuts to front line services such as colleges so that more people can access high quality learning and get ahead.”
Dr Graystone concluded: “Leighton Andrews rightly wants to focus on getting funds to the front line. In conducting the review, we hope that the external consultants he employs draw on the expertise already in the sector and consider the following points in moving to a more efficient and transparent post-16 education funding system:
- how the Welsh Assembly Government’s annual budget can be more transparent on the funding of colleges
- how colleges can best meet the increased demand for learning at a time of tightened resources
- what are the true administrative costs of allocating further education funding and how can these be streamlined
- how can colleges have greater certainty over their funding allocations so that they can plan more effectively
- how can the Welsh Assembly Government avoid a situation where allocations to individual colleges can swing dramatically from one year to the next
- how can the plethora of specific funding pots that colleges are able to bid for each year, which add unnecessary costs to the administration of education and overly confuse the overall funding picture, be reduced in number and included in core funding.”