In December, Oldham Sixth Form College and Oldham College without any consultation or prior notification, received a letter from the Education Funding Agency confirming, amongst other things, that as of next academic year, the funding for students aged 18 at the start of any academic year will reduce by 17.5%.
Analysis by the two Oldham Colleges shows that nearly 700 local students will be affected by these cuts, which totals over £500,000 lost from our further education sector in Oldham.
Last month I wrote a joint letter, with fellow Oldham MPs Michael Meacher and David Heyes, to the Further Education Minister to raise our concerns about the impact this cut will have on Oldham’s students.
In addition, I was lucky enough to be selected in the ballot for Education Questions on Monday, where I was able to raise Oldham’s case in the House of Commons. Following on from my question, MPs from both main parties expressed their concerns about these changes which will affect students who are often in need of the most support from Colleges to progress in education.
My question was:
“Oldham sixth-form college and Oldham college were notified, without any consultation, that their funding would be cut by 17.5%. That has a devastating impact on young people in our area and it is anticipated that 700 young people in Oldham will be affected. Long-term youth unemployment in Oldham has more than doubled since November 2010, and we know that the national figure is 1 million people. Given the Prime Minister’s pledge that our young people should “earn or learn”, is this move not another example of this Government’s hypocrisy?”
To read the full exchange on this issue in Hansard click here.
I will continue to work with Oldham’s Colleges and parliamentary colleagues to press for the Government to deliver funding for Colleges that enables them to support all their students and get as many young people learning then into employment as possible.