College calls for greater funding to help students
Bath College is leading a campaign for increased funding amid concerns students’ education is suffering as a result of cuts. The drive comes ahead of Colleges Week, which runs from Monday to Friday and is part of the Love Our Colleges campaign. The campaign is an opportunity to highlight the work that goes on nationally and locally at Bath College, and the staff who make it all possible. Colleges Week is also an opportunity to call on government for better investment in colleges, and fair pay for college staff. Over the last decade, colleges have had to deal with an average 30 per cent funding cut, while costs have increased dramatically. This, according to the college, has resulted in a drastic drop in learning opportunities for adults, fewer hours of teaching and support for young people. Laurel Penrose, principal at Bath College, said: “Our young people are being short-changed compared with their counterparts in other countries and compared with previous generations. The hours of teaching and support, the choice they have and the enrichment they are offered have all reduced as funding cuts have bitten. This cannot continue if we are to secure the future of our nation.” She added: “Bath College is at the heart of the community here in Bath & North East Somerset and unfortunately the lack of government funding restricts the resources we are able to support our students with which in turn restricts the local economy as we are central to the technological skill development in the local region. We also believe we have excellent staff who, again due to the lack of funding, aren’t fully appreciated.” Love Our Colleges is calling on government to increase funding for 16-19 year olds’ education by five per cent a year for five years as there is currently a reduction once a student turns 16. It is also asking the Department for Education to provide exceptional funding, ring-fenced for teacher pay. David Hughes, chief executive, Association of Colleges, said: “Every single day colleges like Bath College provide a world class education and transform the lives of millions of people. “Colleges Week is an opportunity to celebrate the brilliant things that go on and a chance to showcase the brilliant staff that make it possible. It is simple, if we want a world-class education system then we need to properly invest in it.” Bath College supports over 11,000 students to learn, train and develop confidence and employability skills.