The Lancashire Colleges to lobby government over funding for college sector

The Lancashire Colleges (TLC) along with staff and students from a number of Lancashire’s further education (FE) colleges will travel to London to call on the government for better investment in colleges and fair pay for college staff.

The national day of action is taking place on Wednesday 17 October during Colleges Week (15-19 October) which will see colleges across the country hosting a variety of activities to showcase the brilliant stuff they do, day in and day out to transform lives and improve their communities.

Colleges Week is part of the national ‘Love Our Colleges’ campaign, calling on government to give our colleges better funding to ensure they can continue to fulfil their crucial role in the education system and provide the high-quality skills provision our country needs.

Whether it’s through top-class technical education, basic skills or lifelong learning, colleges help people of all ages and backgrounds to make the most of their talents and ambitions. Rooted in local communities, they are crucial in driving social mobility and providing the skills to boost local and regional economies.

However, there is currently a reduction in education funding once a student turns 16 – whether they are in a school sixth form or a college. ‘Love Our Colleges’ is calling on government to increase 16-19 funding by 5% a year for 5 years. It is also asking the Department for Education to provide exceptional funding, ring-fenced for teacher pay.

Wes Johnson, Principal of Lancaster & Morecambe College and Chair of The Lancashire Colleges said “Lancashire’s colleges play a vital role in providing the highest quality of education, training and skills supporting 92,000 young and adult learners each year as well as working with over 15,000 businesses, supporting their staff in apprenticeships and other training. However our students, staff and the communities that we serve are being short-changed compared with their counterparts in other countries and compared with previous generations. This cannot continue if we are to secure the future of our nation.”

Robin Newton-Syms, Executive Director of The Lancashire Colleges, said: “Every single day, colleges transform the lives of millions of people. Colleges Week is an opportunity to celebrate the brilliant things that go on in colleges and a chance to recognise the exceptional staff that make it possible. It is simple, if we want a world-class education system then we need to properly invest in it.”

The ‘Love Our Colleges’ campaign is a partnership between Association of Colleges (AoC), National Union of Students (NUS), Association of College and School Leaders (ASCL), University and Colleges Union (UCU), Unison, GMB, TUC and National Education Union (NEU).

For more information on Colleges Week and the Love Our Colleges campaign, please visit www.collegesweek.co.uk.