Devolution means cutting courses to pay for more pen-pushers

There’s a degree of inevitability about watching local government top-slicing FE funding as part of the devolution agenda.

The DfE’s “protection” of the adult education budget at £1.5 billion per year will end when the mayoral combined authorities get their hands on the money from August 2019.

We now know the mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, plans to raid this budget for adult courses to fund dozens of new, highly-paid Greater London Authority policy officers, at a cost of over £3 million per year.

Raids like this on the education budget are inevitable and likely to rise because, to put it plainly, the DfE is removing the ring-fence.

The GLA blames the DfE for forcing it to dip into the education budget, and the DfE sheepishly admits it will do nothing to stop the mayor.

The skills minister should step in and only agree devolution deals which include a clause which enforces the ringfence and forbids any raid on the adult education budget.

Failing that, the mayor will have to answer to the London electorate on why he’s cutting investment in adult education.

Read more: Principals blast London’s £3m adult education budget top-slice

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