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News Archive > General > Sixth form heads speak out over ‘chronic’ cuts

Sixth form heads speak out over ‘chronic’ cuts

By Warren Wilkins 11th October 2017

Sixth form heads speak  out over ‘chronic’ cuts

THE headteachers at Newquay’s two sixth forms have appealed to the Government to address its ‘chronic underfunding’ of post 16 education in Cornwall.
Samantha Fairbairn of Newquay Tretherras and Michelle Dunleavy at Treviglas Community College, have joined forces with headteachers from across the county to highlight their shared ‘serious’ concerns in the interests of young people and the economy across Cornwall.

The headteachers have written to Cornwall’s six MPs, including Newquay MP Steve Double, asking them to endorse a letter to the Chancellor of the Exchequer from national education associations urging overdue investment in a phase of education crucial to Cornwall and the UK’s social and economic prospects.
The letter describes how, after many years of cuts, funding for education and skills now “drops by 21% when a young person reaches the age of 16.”  The letter also outlines the way this undermines efforts to boost the UK’s low productivity and to increase its social mobility, two key aims of Government policy.

The letter to the Chancellor asks for a modest increase to the post-16 national funding rate in November’s Budget as a first step. Their specific ask is for Government to begin to address the underfunding by an increase of £200 per post-16 student, which they believe could be largely funded by “the recent underspend in the Department for Education’s’ budget for 16-19 education.’ They believe more than 10,000 young people in Cornwall, currently affected by the chronic underfunding,’ would benefit.

The letter concludes “The chronic underinvestment in sixth form education is bad for students, bad for our international competitiveness and bad for social mobility.”
Alex Lingard, speaking on behalf of Cornwall Sixth Forms Together, said: “Adequately funded education of young people of sixth form age is crucial to our local and national social and economic prospects. The fact that sixth formers in Cornwall are now only funded to receive half the tuition time as sixth formers in other leading economies has to be addressed if we are going to invest in our collective socio-economic futures.”

David Walrond, the principal of Truro and Penwith College, added: “Schools and colleges transform the lives of young people but as importantly, the health and the prospects of the economies to which these learners then contribute. To do that, they must have required investment.

“The particular socio-economic challenges of Cornwall make adequate funding at all stages of education and training essential. We clearly do not have anything like that for our post-16 learners at present. We are relying on our representatives in parliament to recognise that and to make the case strongly, on behalf of Cornwall and all its young people.”

By Warren Wilkins 11th October 2017

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