FE escapes expected slash-and-burn in spending review

The TES is reporting that widely anticipated severe cuts to FE funding have not materialised in chancellor George Osborne’s spending review.

Despite government departments being told to budget for cuts of between 25 and 40 per cent, Mr Osborne told MPs that the overall budget of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Bis) was being reduced by just 17 per cent.

Mr Osborne revealed that the adult FE budget would be protected in cash terms for the next four years. He also announced that sixth-form colleges would be allowed to convert to academy status. The Sixth Form Colleges’ Association has long campaigned for this ability, as it will mean colleges that convert will no longer have to fork out for VAT, which currently costs them an average of £335,000 per year…

Student loans will also be extended to more FE learners to allow them to take qualifications to develop “higher skills”, Mr Osborne added…

More at: FE escapes expected slash-and-burn in spending review


See also this from the TES: What will the spending review mean for FE?


Is the relative sigh of relief here justified? Please give us your reactions in the comments or via Twitter…


Read or download the spending review in full:




And more from the DfE: Department for Education’s settlement at the Spending Review 2015


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Categories: Further Education and Policy.


  1. Sixth form colleges are being offered the carrot of academy conversion to avoid VAT.  But wouldn’t it be simpler just to remove the requirement on sixth form colleges to pay VAT?

    Silly me – that would mean there was no incentive to convert.

    But conversion is a double-edged sword.  It brings extra admin, legal and financial duties.  And, as sixth-form colleges are likely to be stand-alone, it won’t be long before they’re encouraged to join MATs as stand-alone academies are.  The results – loss of autonomy and the requirement to conform to the requirements of the MAT brand.

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