College principal speaks out over cuts proposal

Sarah Wright.
Sarah Wright.

There are fears that young people hoping to improve their GCSE grades in higher education will fall by the wayside because of proposed funding cuts.

Principal of Central Sussex College, Sarah Wright has met with Mid Sussex MP, Nicholas Soames to discuss proposed Government cuts to college funding which could come into effect next year and amount to about £340,000.

The proposal to cut 17.5 per cent of funding for all full-time students aged 18 was announced by the Education Funding Agency in December 2013, and will impact on some students planning to study either an academic or vocational qualification at college in 2014/15.

The changes will affect all students aged 18, but there are particular concerns about the implications for those studying vocational qualifications and those who are getting their education back on track after poor performance at GCSE.

Sarah Wright explained: “It is vital that we continue to offer a variety of opportunities to young people in the area and I am concerned that these changes would further disadvantage the very students that we should be helping – those who otherwise might become ‘NEET’ - Not in Education, Employment or Training.

“I believe that this policy shift, announced in December, comes too late in the planning cycle for many colleges to manage.

“To put it into context, if introduced this year, the funding shift would have affected 267 students on courses at Central Sussex College, resulting in a reduction in funding of approximately £340,000, with figures likely to be similar next year.”

“I am grateful that Nicholas Soames MP was able to come to the College’s Sixth Form campus in Haywards Heath to discuss this issue and meet some of our students, and am confident that he will raise concerns about the effects of this proposed policy change with the Secretary of State for Education, Michael Gove.”

Also present at this week’s talks with Mr Soames was the chairman of the college’s Corporation or governing body, Chris Maidment. The meeting took place on Monday, January 6.