The week is organised by national umbrella group the Association of Colleges (AoC), and this year has the theme ‘Love Our Colleges’. It looks to showcase the value of colleges to the communities they serve, highlighting the life changing stories that take place within them. This year’s campaign is calling on the Government to re-examine the funding rates for further education colleges following the recent report from the Institute for Financial Studies that showed since 2010-11, funding per student aged 16 to 18-years-old in further education has dropped by 8% in real terms.
EKC Group Principal and Chief Executive Graham Razey said: “The Love Our Colleges week has been a wonderful celebration of the incredible stories we see every day in FE. It plays a valuable role in enhancing the life chances of a huge number of people in the communities we serve, and with 12,000 students, it’s important we’re able to continue to deliver the highest quality provision for all of our young people.”
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).
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’ called on the Government to increase 16 to 19-year-old funding by 5% a year for 5 years. It also asked the Department for Education to provide exceptional funding, ring-fenced for lecturer pay.
Graham Razey continued: “EKC Group is focused on ensuring the brightest possible future for the communities we serve, helping our students flourish and achieve their ambitions through the best technical and vocational education they can get. To do that we need to ensure we get fair funding from Government, so that we can continue to invest in the future of our sector and the young people we train every day.”