Colleges warn of funding gap

March 10, 2000

Colleges are warning that the Pounds 34.4 million allocated to fund the new A-level curriculum is not enough.

As the Further Education Funding Council this week revealed its provisional funding allocations for 2000-01, the Association of Colleges warned that some colleges have not been given enough money to provide the expanded and broadened new A-level curriculum, "Curriculum 2000".

"The FEFC has assumed that 50 per cent of students will take one extra subject at AS (Advanced Subsidiary) level, but some colleges are expecting a 90 per cent take up," said John Brennan, AoC director of further education.

The AoC is predicting frantic last-minute bargaining for Curriculum 2000 funds, as colleges begin to recruit teachers and hire accommodation to prepare for the increased burden of the new curriculum, which will be available from September this year.

"There is potential for manoeuvre, as some colleges may have been given too much funding, but the indications are that many have been underfunded, and there may not be sufficient funds to meet all the demands," said Mr Brennan.

Nick Ratcliffe, assistant director for funding at the FEEC, said: "As we begin negotiations with individual colleges over their Curriculum 2000 allocation, we may very well have to find some more money from somewhere."

The FEFC confirmed it had allocated a total of Pounds 3241 billion for next year, and that general FE colleges would see an average funding increase of 3 per cent.

The FEFC has earmarked Pounds 63.4 million to reward colleges for expanding numbers in the government's key priority growth areas. An additional Pounds 25 million is available to expand numbers of full-time places for 16 to 18-year old students, and Pounds 38.4 million is available for adult provision, with Pounds 20 million of that earmarked for the University for Industry. But the AoC has warned that concentrating on priority areas has left some colleges unable to claim money to increase numbers in other areas.

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