Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, responds to the National Audit Office report on the financial sustainability of colleges in England.
Responding to the National Audit Office report on the financial sustainability of colleges in England, Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said:
“This report tells us what we already know only too well – that the government has failed colleges and their students through years of underfunding.
“Only recently, the apprenticeships and skills minister told the House of Commons that the Department for Education is supporting 40 colleges in financial difficulty and five have sought emergency funding. This is the reality in a sector which has been treated for too long by the government as a Cinderella service.
“It is to the great credit of colleges and staff that they continue to do such a fantastic job for their students despite these very difficult financial circumstances.
“They now face huge extra financial pressures because of costs associated with the Covid crisis. This includes the loss of commercial business income due to lockdown, as well as having to put in place, extra costly safety measures needed for reopening.
“However, the government has so far refused to reimburse the extra costs incurred as a result of the emergency situation, and this is exacerbating an already desperate position.”