The national funding rate for 16-18 year olds will be 2.3 per cent higher than planned following the education secretary’s announcement of a £185 million cash injection for academic year 2023-24.
Details published late last week outline how programme cost weightings and disadvantage funding will rise alongside the base rate.
The Department for Education (DfE) announced it will be increasing the national funding rate for students aged 16 and 17, and students aged 18 and over with high needs in band 5, by injecting £111 more per student to colleges and other 16-19 providers.
The new base rate of £4,753 per learner, is a much-needed funding rise, college leaders say.
James Kewin, deputy chief executive of the sixth form colleges association, said: “This is a good news story. Credit should go to DfE for keeping hold of the underspend that will be used to fund this increase and to ESFA for getting the rates out so quickly.”
It comes as part of a £185 million funding injection in 2023-24 and £285 million in 2024-25 to “address key priorities” in the further education sector which was announced alongside the 6.5 per cent pay rise for school teachers.
Unlike in schools, the government does not set staff pay in FE, but the education secretary has told colleges the extra funding coming next year should be spent on staff retention and recruitment.
Gillian Keegan, the education secretary, told MPs in the House of Commons last week that she “expects” this extra funding “to go to the front line.”
“I hope the investment will support the FE sector to address its recruitment and retention challenges,” she said.
The base rate was due to be £4,642 for the next academic year, rising from £4,542 in 22/23.
The DfE said that other funding bands – including for part-time and T Levels – will increase proportionately. It also lifted the disadvantage block 2 funding, which takes into account the additional cost of teaching and supporting low prior attainment students, by £55 per student, making the total funding £559 per student, up from £504.
The disadvantage block 2 rate will go up to £341 for bands 2 and 3 students and £758 for T Level students.
All programme cost weightings in the 16 to 19 funding formula will also be increased. This means that the low weighting of 1.1 becomes 1.13, the medium weighting of 1.2 becomes 1.26 all the way up to specialist, which moves from 1.75 to 1.975.
“It is right that 16-19 providers receive funding when it is extended to pre-16 providers,” added Kewin. “We’ll continue to campaign for the rate to be raised even higher, but today’s news is a welcome step in the right direction.”