Looming cuts in adult learning budgets threaten college catering courses

22 March 2010 by
Looming cuts in adult learning budgets threaten college catering courses

Courses at catering colleges could be cut and students turned away because of a looming £200m cut in funding for adult education, it has been claimed.

Further education colleges in England are calling on Chancellor Alistair Darling to protect adult students from cuts in his budget on Wednesday, the BBC said.

A survey by the Association of Colleges claimed that institutions face an average budget cut of 16% for adult learning - the equivalent of £200m.

Meanwhile, 43% of the 162 colleges surveyed said that their budgets for adult learning were being cut 25% in the next academic year.

But the Government said it would spend more than £3.5b on further education and skills in 2010-11.

Julian Gravatt, Association of Colleges assistant chief executive told the broadcaster: "We are calling on the Chancellor to help protect these courses and the students they serve.

"We know that the Treasury is under significant pressure to further curtail public spending, but cutting courses that are so essential to our recovery is a false economy."

A spokesman for the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills said: "It is more important than ever before that our investment in skills is smart and we must focus on improving value for money by purchasing only high quality training and by maximising the contribution towards training from businesses and individuals where they see the highest private returns.

"Over £3.5b funding for further education and skills in 2010-11 will support an estimated 3.4 million adults accessing high quality, relevant training, to help them into sustainable employment, and to support the current workforce as they develop skills for future growth.

"As recognised in the Association of Colleges report, funding through the Adult Learner Responsive budget is only part of the overall public income that colleges receive."

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By Neil Gerrard

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