London plans to pull funding for 32 out-of-area colleges

More than 30 colleges based outside London are set to lose millions in funding for delivering training to adults in the capital next year.

Greater London Authority officials have revealed plans to contract with just four colleges that are not located within “reasonable travel-to-learn distances for London learners”.

If approved, it means that 32 fewer organisations, who currently have combined adult education budget allocations of over £13.4 million with the GLA, will be funded from 2021/22.

The proposal was disclosed in the GLA’s agenda for its next AEB mayoral board meeting, which is scheduled for tomorrow.

It comes after mayor Sadiq Khan signed off on a crackdown on funding for training providers based outside of the capital’s “fringe” – typically more than 30 miles away from central London.

Officials say the majority of funding given to these colleges is subcontracted to firms based in London who are then charged a “substantial” management fee – a practice that the GLA wants to limit.

Out-of-area colleges were previously asked to submit a business case for why their funding should continue, based on the type of provision they offer and the groups of learners they support.

The final decision on which out-of-area colleges will continue to gain funding from the GLA is expected to be made at tomorrow’s meeting.

A spokesperson said it would not be appropriate to comment at this stage, or reveal the names of the four colleges that look set to keep their funding.

The GLA previously said it will consult on how best to use the returned £13.4 million as part of its next Skills for Londoners framework consultation, which is expected to launch this month.

Options include running a separate AEB procurement exercise or funding uplifts for certain learners and qualifications.

The AEB for the capital, which tops £300 million annually, was devolved from the Education and Skills Funding Agency to the GLA in August 2019.