The Independent is reporting that sixth form colleges are under threat with several facing closure this year because of deep cuts to their budgets, according to claims from a new study by the Sixth Form Colleges’ Association (SFCA)…
A survey of England’s 93 sixth form colleges reveals that more than one in three colleges have already had to axe their language courses – while more than one in five have scrapped courses in the Stem science and maths subjects.
“The sector is now at a tipping point,” says the study. “A further reduction in funding would prove calamitous for many institutions, some would inevitably close, others would only be able to provide an impoverished educational experience to students.”
The survey, which has been seen by The Independent, reveals that 68 per cent of sixth form colleges had to axe courses this year, while 96 per cent have had to cut staff. In addition, 69 per cent have seen class sizes increase, while 71 per cent have been forced to axe extra curricular provision such as sport and drama.
The sixth form colleges are facing cuts because the Coalition Government’s pledge to retain education spending only covers five- to 16-year-olds.
Unlike schools with attached sixth forms, stand-alone sixth form colleges also have to pay VAT – to the tune of £335,000 a year.
The survey showed that the biggest casualties were German and Spanish. On extra-curricular activity, there was a reduction in sport, drama and music and 65 per cent of colleges said that support staff were now undertaking work previously done by teachers.
“This is the brutal truth,” said James Kewin, deputy chief executive of the Sixth Form Colleges’ Association.
“The Government is obsessed with the idea that every school and every academy needs a sixth form. This is despite clear evidence that sixth form colleges deliver better outcomes for students and do so at a lower cost to the state,” he said…
Are you or is your child involved in a sixth form college? If so, can you vindicate the kind of issues described in this report? Do you agree with James Kewin that the government is ‘obsessed’ with trying to get a sixth form in every secondary school when sixth form colleges deliver better outcomes? If so, why do you think this is? Please share in the comments or via Twitter…