The Government has consistently exaggerated the cost of further education's 16 to 19 provision while under-estimating school costs so it can sell plans for funding convergence, say college heads.
The Association of Colleges says that it will be pressing the new government for an accurate review of costs after a second Department for Education and Employment report showed FE more expensive and schools cheaper than they are in reality.
The DfEE's report, The Public Funding Costs of Education and Training for 16 to 19-year-olds in England 1995-96, shows that most general FE colleges received an average of Pounds 6,410 per each package of three A levels or equivalent studied by students. School sixth forms received an average of Pounds 6,970 per qualification package while grant maintained schools got Pounds 7,010.
But in a written response to the DfEE, John Brennan, the AoC's director of FE development, calculated the average for colleges, per three A-level package, as being Pounds 5,860. For school sixth forms he put it at Pounds 7,250.
A DfEE spokesman said that the latest cost comparisons were for information only and that nothing had been set in concrete.