The Education and Training Foundation has had millions of pounds of grant funding cut by the Department for Education.
ETF announced the cuts on Monday, stating that the affected continuing professional development (CPD) programmes include basic skills, essential digital skills, practitioner research, advanced practitioner, and outstanding teaching, learning and assessment.
Analysis of ETF funding documents by FE Week shows that grants for these programmes were worth £3,226,124 for 2021/22 – marking a 15 per cent cut to the ETF’s overall DfE funding of £21,008,540 for that year.
It is expected that some programmes previously provided by ETF will be put out to tender by the DfE.
ETF’s chief executive told FE Week that cuts to its grant do not threaten the future of the organisation, and that the move to switch to more tendering for programmes has been coming for a number of years.
The charity would not comment on whether the cuts would result in any redundancies.
The news comes after FE Week revealed in March that the DfE grant for ETF’s practitioner research programme would not be available in 2022/23.
“The ETF would like to wholeheartedly thank everyone who has made such a success of basic skills-related CPD for FE practitioners over the last eight years,” said David Russell, chief executive of the ETF.
“It has been a vital source of support, particularly while the sector tackled the challenge of implementing the GCSE resit policy, but it has also been so much more.”
He said programmes such as the advanced practitioner programme, the outstanding teaching, learning and assessment programme, and the practitioner research programme have been “transformational” for many teachers and trainers.
“Teachers have told me personally how these programmes ‘rekindled their love of teaching’, helped elevate their professional development, and in some cases were the difference that kept them in the profession,” he added.
The affected programmes fall under the basic skills workforce grant. In June 2021, the DfE awarded the ETF £3,226,124 for this grant for the period ending March 31, 2022.
According to the grant letter published on the ETF’s website, total grant funding awarded from the DfE was £21,008,540 for the 2021/22 financial year and included: the SEND further education workforce development grant, basic skills workforce grant, further education workforce development grant, and leadership and governance programme development grant.
FE Week contacted the DfE to ask why the funding has been cut.
“We remain committed to supporting FE teachers and the vital work they do in improving achievement in English and maths,” a spokesperson said.
“We will continue investing in the English and maths workforce in 2022 and beyond. This includes supporting practitioners to test successful and transferable approaches to improving post-16 level 2 English and maths outcomes, particularly for disadvantaged learners.”
They added that the DfE intends to conduct “competitive processes” to enable new programme delivery to commence during 2022/23, including “expert and sector-led English and maths continuing professional development, as well as robust, large scale research to develop our evidence base of what works”.
ETF said that since 2014, the DfE’s basic skills grant to the ETF has been of “great benefit to the sector”, providing maths and English CPD support to tens of thousands of colleagues across all types of FE settings.
The support has included online and face-to-face training; one-to-one and group coaching; networks and events; and specialist advice and support. In 2021/22 alone, the ETF delivered more than 240 training events, ran more than 65 networking events, and reached more than 10,000 delegates.
The grant has also supported the creation of resources and training opportunities, such as: functional skills mathematics level 1, GCSE English writing, CPD training for teachers, and teaching functional skills maths.
ETF provided participation figures to FE Week for the Practitioner Research programme and the Outstanding Teaching, Learning and Assessment. For the Practitioner Research programme there were 188 participants between 2018 and 2022.
The OTLA saw 1,249 participants from 2019 to 2022. The ETF did not provide FE Week with figures for the other affected programmes.
“It is both rare and excellent for programme support to last long enough to allow them to grow roots in the sector, and achieve sustainable, irreversible change in the levels of professionalism, collaboration and capacity amongst participants,” said Russell.
“This has certainly been the case here, and the legacy of these programmes will live on strongly. We would like to thank everyone from colleagues in the DfE to our fantastic delivery partners who have been part of this successful journey.”
“It is the ETF’s continuing mission to help practitioners in our sector find new ways to excel and grow, for the benefit of their learners,” he added.