Chartered Institution for Further Education on the ropes?


The head of the Chartered Institution for Further Education has insisted its survival is not hanging in the balance, even though the government failed to provide any funding for it in this year’s budget.

Dan Wright’s defence of the CIFE also comes despite having just 14 members –  far fewer than the 80 he previously said it needed to become self-sustaining.

FE Week started asking questions about the institution’s future after the Department for Education last month published its executive agency spend for March which included a £220,000 payment to the CIFE.

The DfE said this was the second and final payment going to the institution under their 2017-18 grant funding agreement following a payment of £210,000 in October.

A spokesperson then confirmed that the government had no further commitments to fund the institution.

Last year’s £430,000 DfE prop-up was given on top of £1 million in payments to the CIFE since it was conceived in 2012, as FE Week revealed in January.

Although Mr Wright (pictured), the institution’s chief executive, told FE Week that conversations with the DfE about additional subsidy for 2018-19 were ongoing, he admitted no decisions had yet been made.

Considering the CIFE is 64 members off the number it needs to become self-funding, it appears unlikely that the institution will be able to continue without more government grants.

But Mr Wright was keen to play down the possibility that his institution is on the ropes, saying discussions with the department were continuing with meetings scheduled in the near future and a number of new members joining.

He told FE Week: “We are looking forward to the government giving every support as we expand our membership.

“We do have a growing income stream from membership and it has always been the intention to be self-funding.”

The CIFE, the brainchild of the former skills minister John Hayes, was created to get high-achieving FE providers Royal Charter status.                                                        

But six years after its conception, it is still being funded by public money, with payments to date totalling nearly £1.5 million.

In January Mr Wright told FE Week the institution needs 80 members to be “completely free” of government subsidy.

He had a plan agreed with the DfE setting out how the institution will be self-sufficient by mid-2019.

Mr Wright would not comment on whether the institution would achieve the goal.

The DfE would also not comment on the CIFE’s progress to becoming self-funding.

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