A report published by the Sixth Form Colleges Association (SFCA) has revealed that funding pressures risk turning sixth form education into a ‘narrow and part time experience’, exposing that two thirds (66 per cent) of Sixth Form Colleges have already scrapped courses as a result of funding cuts and cost increases.
The ‘SFCA funding impact survey report 2016’ concluded that more than a third (39 per cent) of colleges have dropped modern foreign language courses, mainly A level French, Italian and German, and 58 per cent have either removed or reduced extra-curricular activities available to students including sport, music and drama classes.
According to researchers, funding for sixth formers in England is 20 per cent lower than the funding for 11-16 year olds and 47 per cent lower than the average university tuition fee.
Bill Watkin, chief executive of the Sixth Form Colleges Association commented on the report: “This report should act as a wake-up call to the government. The message from the most effective and efficient providers of sixth form education is clear – more investment from government is essential if Sixth Form Colleges, school and academy sixth forms are to continue providing young people with the high quality education they need to progress to higher education and employment.
He continued: “A review of sixth form funding is urgently required to ensure it is linked to the realistic costs of delivering a rounded, high quality curriculum. Failure to do this risks turning sixth form education into a narrow and part time experience. That would be bad for students, bad for society and bad for the economy”.
In conclusion, 90 per cent are either ‘extremely concerned’ or ‘concerned’ about the financial health of their college, and 64 per cent do not believe the amount of funding they will receive next year will be sufficient to provide the support required by students that are economically or educationally disadvantaged.