Lancashire's college bosses in rallying cry to end funding cuts

Colleges bosses from across Lancashire are among hundreds petitioning the Government demanding the implementation of the Post-18 Education Review (The Augar Review).

Runshaw College principal Simon Partington. The college is being forced to close Foxholes Restaurant due to funding cuts
Runshaw College principal Simon Partington. The college is being forced to close Foxholes Restaurant due to funding cuts

In an unprecedented move, the leaders of every general further education college in England have joined forces to write an open letter to the Chancellor and Secretary of State for Education urging them to “answer the calls from business” and respond to the “challenges of technological change and Brexit” by urgently investing in the country’s technical and vocational education system by implementing the main recommendations of the government’s recent Post-18 Education Review.

The 203 leaders head up colleges which educate and train more than 200 young people every year and say they are facing crisis point because of funding cuts.

The Augar Review called for a host of changes including an end to the 17.5 per cent cut in education funding for 18-year olds, support so that everybody, regardless of age, to achieve to at least level three, and a re-balancing of the traditional post-18 educational landscape.

The letter states: “(The Post-18 Review) understands that employers and communities need more high quality technical and professional education and training, industry standard facilities, expert staff and the unique curriculum that colleges already provide.

“It sees colleges as the key vehicle for the flexible, local delivery of national strategies, supporting industrial policy, productivity, skills development and genuine social equity. It clearly acknowledges that all this requires real investment.”

It adds: “In many respects the Augar Review represents a wider emerging consensus across England. We are sure that you will agree with us and other key stakeholders that further education colleges have been neglected, and that there is now a growing appreciation of their unique role, value and potential.

"What we now need are decisions and commitments: with your political leadership, support and resolve, colleges will be able to build on what they already do to reach more employers and more adults and make the differences our economy and society need.”

Among the signataries are members of the Association of Colleges as well as Simon Partington (pictured) principal of Leyland’s Runshaw College which has recently announced the closure of its popular Foxholes Restaurant due to cash shortages, Wes Johnson from Lancaster and Morecambe College, Alison Robinson principal at Myerscough, West Lancs College, Bev Robinson from Blackpool and The Fylde; Preston’s College principal and chief executive Lis Smith and Kelvin Nash from Kendal College, who are also part of the LoveOurColleges campaign.