Per-student funding for 16-19-year-olds will increase by 1.9 per cent this coming academic year bringing the top funding rate for study programme students to £4,842.
The Department for Education said the increase marks the final year of the three-year settlement for 16 to 19 education reached at the government’s 2021 spending review. The spending review committed £324 million for an extra 40 teaching hours for students to “bring us closer to high-performing countries” which is included in the increased rates.
But the Association of Colleges has slated the increase which they said equates to a “drop” in funding of 10 per cent in real terms because of high inflation and extra teaching requirements.
The uplift applies to every funding band for young people on study programmes and T Levels.
Young people aged 16 and 17, and those aged 18 or over with high needs, will attract an increased base rate of £4,843, up £90 on this year.
Meanwhile, a two-year T Level student funded by the top band of 1,730 minimum planned hours will attract a base rate of £15,330. This is an increase of £284 from the 2023/24 base rate.
David Hughes, chief executive of the Association of Colleges, said that while 16 to 19 funding had increased in real terms, “the impact is a fall of 10 per cent” and will hit colleges struggling to recruit and retain teachers in key skill shortage subjects like maths and engineering.
“The drop in funding coincides with a time in which colleges are finding it increasingly hard to attract and retain staff. This is particularly difficult in certain subjects such as maths, construction, engineering,” he added.
“The government recognised it needed to help with that gap last year but this announcement suggests it has no plan for this year on how to address it. Colleges now need the government to devise a long-term plan on pay, with more investment.”
Today’s funding announcement coincided with changes to the government’s controversial English and maths condition of funding policy.
Disadvantage and care leaver funding rates will also increase from August 2024.
Students who are in or have recently left care will see their additional per-student disadvantage funding increase from £559 to £570.
Disadvantage block 2 funding, for students with low prior attainment, will increase to £570 for students in bands 4 and 5, to £347 for students in bands 2 and 3, and to £772 for T Level students.
The high-value course premium will remain at £600 for eligible qualifications.
Extra funding to promote take-up of level 3 maths courses will be split into two categories from 2024.
A new core maths premium, worth £900, will be paid for students taking the core maths A (MEI) level 3 certificate, the core maths B (MEI) level 3 certificate, the Pearson Edexcel level 3 certificate in mathematics in context or the AQA certificate level 3 mathematical studies.
Students eligible for the core maths premium must already have a grade 9 to 4 in GCSE maths or equivalent. They must also take the core maths qualification in the first year of their study programme or T Level.
The advanced maths premium remains in place, but funding will be increased from £600 to £900. Qualifications above that are now core maths qualifications have been removed from the advanced maths premium list. Unlike the core maths premium, advanced maths premium qualifications can be taken over one or two years of a study programme or T Level.