Increased funding must go to “magnificent” further education providers such as Middlesbrough College, a local MP has urged.
Andy McDonald MP made the call as he visited Middlesbrough College to hear from staff and students about their work and studies.
The visit, part of Colleges Week, saw Andy tour the college and give a talk to students about his work campaigning against budget cuts.
He said cuts to the further education sector are often overshadowed by headline-grabbing events in health, social care and local government – but can be just as damaging.
Andy said: “I have taken up the cause of further education with the government and will continue to fight their corner making the case for fairer and increased funding for the sec
“Middlesbrough College is a wonderful place to study and with the STEM Centre and the huge variety of subjects and courses you can study it provides a fantastic springboard for local young people to get into the world of work or move onto Higher Education courses.
“This is down to the heroic efforts of staff at the College who provide such a magnificent education to the students in the face of huge budget cuts which threaten to undermine results and make their job so much harder.
“I am delighted to be visiting Middlesbrough College to hear first-hand about how staff and students see the situation in Further Education and how I can best represent them and advocate on their behalf.”
The Love Our Colleges campaign – part of Colleges Week – saw colleges from across the North East, including Middlesbrough College, join together in demanding a fairer funding deal.
Zoe Lewis, principal and chief executive of Middlesbrough College, said: “Staff and students were pleased to meet Andy on an important visit to the College.
“The Love Our Colleges campaign is a crucial one.
“Middlesbrough College is financially strong, and our student outcomes are among the best in the country – with progression to university and employment at 97 per cent for school leavers and 93 per cent for adults.
“But for many colleges the funding situation has become unsustainable.
“The funding rate for 16-17 year-olds has been fixed since 2013 at £4,000 per full-time student, and this reduces even further once the student turns 18, to £3,300. This is compared with around £6,000 per student in schools and more than £9,000 for students in university.
“In the meantime colleges have had to absorb rising costs, making it harder all the time to provide a rounded curriculum that equips students with the skills and knowledge they need to enter the workplace or get the most from higher education.”