‘Love Our Colleges’ is launching as part of Colleges Week, which takes place from Monday 15 October to Friday 19 October.
It highlights the vital role of colleges, as well as the need for proper investment in the further education (FE) sector, along with fairer pay for FE staff.
The ‘Love Our Colleges’ campaign is a partnership between Association of Colleges (AoC), National Union of Students (NUS), Association of College and School Leaders (ASCL), University and Colleges Union (UCU), Unison, GMB, TUC and National Education Union (NEU).
Whether it’s through top-class technical education, basic skills or lifelong learning, colleges help people of all ages and backgrounds to make the most of their talents and ambitions. Rooted in local communities, they are crucial in driving social mobility and providing the skills to boost local and regional economies.
However, there is currently a reduction in education funding once a student turns 16 – whether they are in a school sixth form or a college. ‘Love Our Colleges’ is calling on government to increase 16-19 funding by 5% a year for 5 years. It is also asking Department for Education to provide exceptional funding, ring-fenced for teacher pay.
Gail Walker Principal of Brooklands College said: “This is a really important campaign that is working to promote what FE Colleges are doing under increasingly difficult financial conditions. We are here to provide skills and training to future employees and future leaders across all industries – we work to ensure they have the rights skills going into work.
We need to highlight to government that our young people are being short-changed compared with their counterparts in other countries and compared with previous generations. The hours of teaching and support, the choice they have and the enrichment they are offered have gradually reduced as funding cuts have bitten. This needs to change to secure the future of young people.”