College joins the fight against cuts to adult education funding

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College joins the fight against cuts to adult education funding

26 March 2015

Adult Learners

Bracknell & Wokingham College has joined forces with colleges across the country to protest against cuts to adult education funding.

The Government has announced it will cut the adult education budget by 24% in the 2015/16 academic year, which may lead to the loss of over 190,000 adult learning places next year alone across the country.

For Bracknell & Wokingham College this means an 18% cut to their non-Apprenticeship adult education budget with only Adult Maths & English and Apprenticeships protected from the cuts, affecting the number of adults in the area who can get training and education.

Campbell Christie CBE, Principal & CEO of Bracknell & Wokingham College, said:

“We hold our Local Accountability very seriously.  We deliver high quality skills, through a multitude of excellent courses, to meet the needs of the local community.  These financial cuts are seriously threatening our ability to do this.  

Every year approximately 1900 students come to this college to retrain for a new job - whether it’s due to redundancy or wanting a change in career – or to upskill for their current jobs and everyday lives. We need to have enough funding if we want to continue our support of these people.”

The Bracknell & Wokingham College branch of the University and College Union added:

“The UCU is determined to fight the cuts and is working with other sector and representative bodies to coordinate a joint campaign of opposition.”

The college has joined forces with the Association of Colleges (AoC), a membership organisation for further education and sixth form colleges, to campaign against the cuts. Martin Doel, Chief Executive of the Association of Colleges, said:

“We’re living in an ever-changing society in which people do not keep to the same career path for their whole lives. These people need the options of returning to education or undertaking training.

Adult education and training is effectively being decimated. It is too important to be lost and these cuts could mean an end to the vital courses that train people such as nurses and social care workers.”

As part of its manifesto to the post-election Government, AoC is calling for greater equality in the education system by introducing education accounts for all students aged 19 and over. The Government, individuals and employers could contribute to these accounts to ensure that all adult students, whether studying at university or college, have equivalent access to loans and grants.

Further education colleges in England have a reputation for providing high-quality technical and professional education and training for students aged 19 and over. Courses available include basic skills qualifications right through to Level 6 (degree level), including GCSEs and A Levels. Courses range from Construction and Engineering to History and English. 

Currently 230,000 unemployed people undertake education and training in colleges. Funding for adult learning courses is provided by the Skills Funding Agency (SFA) via the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS).

The UCU have set up two methods to allow people to help them campaign against these funding cuts:

- Signing the joint petition
- Highlighting the devastating impact of the proposed cuts to your MP and other  
  parliamentary candidates in your constituency here

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