Colleges win £130m to plug gap

June 18, 2004

College heads this week welcomed news of a one-off £130 million boost for further education, writes Tony Tysome.

The extra cash was announced by the Government on Monday after emergency talks between the Learning and Skills Council and the Department for Education and Skills on how to plug a funding gap that could have meant the loss of at least 70,000 places on further education courses next year.

The Association of Colleges had warned the LSC that courses across further education, including access to higher education programmes, were under threat.

Local LSCs had told colleges that had exceeded their recruitment targets that there was not enough money to fund all their planned student numbers.

Charles Clarke, the Education Secretary, said the money would allow allocations for next year to be "kept on track" for all colleges meeting their student recruitment targets.

The AoC welcomed the cash but warned there could be a similar crisis in future unless colleges' baseline funding was increased permanently.

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