Waltham Forest College has written to local MPs urging the Chancellor to follow through on PM Boris Johnson’s commitment to prioritising investment in further education and skills in the upcoming spending review.

In a decade of austerity, over a million opportunities for adults to train and re-train have been lost every year and 16-18-year-olds are now receiving 10 hours less per week in teaching and support than their counterparts in other countries. Waltham Forest College has asked Stella Creasy and Iain Duncan Smith to urge the Chancellor to ensure next month’s spending review proposes a ten-year education funding plan that invests properly in all young people and adults to give this country the skills it requires for the future.

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Waltham Forest College alongside every other college in the country has had to deal with an overall cut of 30% to funding over the last decade. The spending review needs to recognise this by bringing in significant new investment in colleges, including:

  • A cash injection of £450m for 16-18 education
  • A boost of £250m for adult education and training; and,
  • New capital investment of £240m for IT, new kit & equipment and to reflect the growing numbers of young people studying in colleges

Waltham Forest College is a key supporter of the ‘Love Our Colleges’ campaign launched by the Association of Colleges (AoC) calling for longer-term funding in further education.

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The principal of Waltham Forest College, Dr Joy Kettyle, said: “We aim is to ensure that we improve the life chances of all our learners and that they are equipped with the skills they need to achieve their ambitions for work and in life.”

Dr Kettyle, further commented “The spending review must acknowledge the big contribution further education makes to society and our economy. It must be the starting point in providing the right levels of investment so that colleges can play their full part in a successful economy post-Brexit.”

The Rt Hon Iain Duncan Smith visited Waltham Forest College during the ‘Love Our Colleges’ campaign week for a discussion with students and staff around funding cuts and its implications to further education institutions.

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He said: “I’ve come to Waltham Forest College to support the push on Love Our Colleges and all the students I have met today are learning a trade to either start or change their careers. The point of this college is they offer people a chance and a way to develop their skills beyond school and gain qualifications that are vital in the way we run society. These are the skills that are desperately necessary and we need more of it. I am enormously proud to support the Love Our Colleges campaign.”

David Hughes, Chief Executive of the Association of Colleges, said: “The spending review is an early opportunity for the Prime Minister to show he meant it with his pledge to invest in further education and skills. There are many funding and policy challenges to grapple with across government, mostly needing highly-skilled, well-educated workforces to deliver for our economy and country. 

Despite educating 2.2 million people every year, including more than 600,000 16 to 18-year-olds, colleges have been neglected in recent years. Next month is an opportunity to change that and to improve the life chances of millions of people.”

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