Col­lege calls for greater fund­ing to help stu­dents

Bath Chronicle - - NEWS -

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.

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