Bath College, together with many other FE Colleges across England, have announced their full support for the #loveourcolleges campaign during Colleges Week 2018, taking place from 15th October.
Colleges Week, which takes place from Monday 15th October to Friday 19th October 2018 and is part of the ‘Love Our Colleges’ campaign, is an opportunity to highlight the work that goes on nationally and locally at Bath College, and the staff that make it all possible.
Bath College says Colleges Week is also their opportunity to call on the government for better investment in colleges, and fair pay for college staff.
Bath College provides services across the Bath & North East Somerset area, supporting over 11,000 students to learn, train and develop confidence and employability skills.
In a statement, a spokesperson for Bath College said: “We believe Further education colleges are an essential part of England’s education system. Colleges and college staff transform lives – they help people make the most of their talents and ambitions and drive social mobility; they 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 significant 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.”
“Whether it’s through top-class technical education, basic skills or lifelong learning, colleges like Bath College help people of all ages and backgrounds to make the most of their talents and ambitions.
“Mostly rooted in local communities, Colleges are crucial in driving social mobility and providing the skills to boost local and regional economies.”
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 the Department for Education to provide exceptional funding, ring-fenced for teacher pay.
Laurel Penrose, Principal at Bath College, said: “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 all reduced as funding cuts have bitten. This cannot continue if we are to secure the future of our nation.”
“Bath College is at the heart of the community here in Bath & North East Somerset and unfortunately the lack of Government funding restricts the resources we are able to support our students with which in turn restricts the local economy as we are central to the technological skill development in the local region.
“We also believe we have excellent staff who, again due to the lack of funding, aren’t fully appreciated.”
David Hughes, Chief Executive, Association of Colleges, said: “Every single day colleges like Bath College provide a world class education and transform the lives of millions of people.
“Colleges Week is an opportunity to celebrate the brilliant things that go on and a chance to showcase the brilliant staff that make it possible. It is simple, if we want a world-class education system then we need to properly invest in it.”
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).