FE colleges to be directly funded for pre-16s in 2013


Further education (FE) and sixth form colleges could be funded for 14 to 16 year-olds on a similar basis to schools from 2013.

The Department for Education (DfE) is proposing to fund FE colleges using a “simplified local funding formulae” managed by the Education Funding Agency (EFA) from the 2013/14 academic year.

The new proposals are detailed in the ‘School funding reform: Next steps towards a fairer system’ consultation document, published by the DfE on March 26.

“With effect from 2013 and following Professor Alison Wolf’s review of vocational education, FE and Sixth Form Colleges will be able to make full time provision for 14-16 year olds,” the consultation document reads.

“We need to ensure that there is a fair and effective means of funding this.”

It later adds: “FE colleges making provision for 14-16 year olds should be funded so far as possible in the same way as schools in the local area.

“From 2013-14, we think this will mean using the simplified local funding formulae arrangements.”

The DfE plan to use four of the existing 37 formula factors, currently applied to schools through the “simplified local funding formulae”, for FE colleges in 2013:

a) the Age Weighted Pupil Unit (AWPU) for the relevant age group;
b) deprivation;
c) looked after children; and,
d) SEN.

The consultation document states: “The remaining factors relate to premises and the lump sum.

“These are needed for schools as the funding is for the whole institution.

“It would not be appropriate to include these factors for colleges because the funding is for small numbers of pupils at the margin of the institution’s activities.”

However, it is currently unclear how FE and sixth form colleges will apply for an allocation for this type of provision.

The consultation documents says the EFA will be responsible for calculating the funding for each institution, with payments being made “through the normal channels.”

Responses to the consultation document need to be submitted to the DfE by May 21.

(Read the consultation document, ‘School funding reform: Next steps towards a fairer system’  here.)