Sheffield College principal joins other college leaders to demand implementation of post-18 education review

Chief executive and principal of The Sheffield College,Angela FoulkesChief executive and principal of The Sheffield College,Angela Foulkes
Chief executive and principal of The Sheffield College,Angela Foulkes
The principal of The Sheffield College has joined 202 other college leaders to demand the implementation of the Augar report into post-18 education and funding.

In an unprecedented move, the leaders of every general further education college - including The Sheffield College - in England have joined forces to write an open letter to the Chancellor and Secretary of State for Education urging them to “answer the calls from business” and respond to the “challenges of technological change and Brexit”  by urgently investing in the country’s technical and vocational education system.

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They have called for the implementation of the main recommendations of the government’s Augar Review, which include a reduction of higher education tuition fees to £7,500 per year, an extension of the student loan repayment period from 30 to 40 years and an increase in the teaching grant.

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Angela Foulkes, Chief Executive and Principal of The Sheffield College, said: “The recommendations in the Augar report are about so much more than the debate around higher education fees. There is an urgent need across the country for a tertiary education system that supports technical skills development and makes best use of the good work of further education colleges.

“It is critical that, despite the current political uncertainty, the government implements the recommendations of the review and invests in colleges, which are a vital part of our education system.”

The 203 leaders are responsible for institutions that educate and train 2 million people each year, employing 180,000 staff and they have a combined turnover of £6 billion per annum.

The Augar Review also called for, amongst other things, an end to the 17.5 per cent cut in education funding for 18-year-olds, support so that everybody, regardless of age, can achieve to at least level three, and a rebalancing of the traditional post-18 educational landscape.

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The letter said: “In many respects the Augar Review represents a wider emerging consensus across England. We are sure that you will agree with us and other key stakeholders that further education colleges have been neglected, and that there is now a growing appreciation of their unique role, value and potential.

“What we now need are decisions and commitments: with your political leadership, support and resolve, colleges will be able to build on what they already do to reach more employers and more adults and make the differences our economy and society need. “