Gary Headland: Why we need a fairer deal for further education

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Monday marks the start of a national campaign to raise awareness of the role that further education colleges play in their local communities.

#LoveOurColleges is a week of action across the sector designed to demonstrate why the Chancellor should ensure meaningful and sustainable investment in colleges in his comprehensive spending review.

Our contribution will be to show the community a snapshot of a Week in the Life of Lincoln College.

We’ll talking about the social and economic value we add to the community through education, training and employer engagement.

Colleges and college staff transform lives, they help people make the most of their talents and ambitions and drive social mobility.

Colleges help businesses improve productivity and drive economic growth; they are rooted in and committed to their communities and drive tolerance and well-being.

They are an essential part of England’s education system – educating and training 2.2 million people every year.

Over the last decade, colleges have had to deal with an average 30% funding cut, whilst costs have increased dramatically.

This has resulted in a drastic drop in learning opportunities for adults, fewer hours of teaching and support for young people, and teacher pay at less than 80% of schools and support staff seeing no increase in pay for several years.

This situation is not sustainable and ultimately impacts upon students, businesses, communities and the wider economy.

Although Lincoln College Group works hard to mitigate the impact of these funding cuts by generating additional income through its international and commercial business, it is vital that the government listens to these arguments and responds positively.