Further moves to reduce bureaucracy and red tape in 16 to 19 education have been announced by the government.
Schools Minister Nick Gibb said the current funding processes were too complex and had too many layers.
The new measures will simplify the system by
* freeing up LAs to focus on their strategic role in 16 to 19 education
* scrapping the need for LAs to set up sub-regional groups and regional planning groups
* paying further education colleges, sixth-form colleges and other training providers direct from the Young People’s Learning Agency (YPLA), the change coming in from August
Nick Gibb and Education Secretary Michael Gove outlined the changes in letters to Councillor Shireen Ritchie, Chair of the Local Government Association’s Children and Young People Board, Marion Davis, President of the Association of Directors of Children’s Services, and other stakeholders.
Ministers added that further simplification would be introduced for the allocations round for the 2011 to 2012 academic year, with education institutions’ annual funding shares for 16 to 19 being based on the previous year’s student numbers. This will ensure funding follows the student and will end the need for drawn-out planning involving lengthy local negotiations. Institutions will be free to decide on their curriculum, responding to the needs of students and employers.
Nick Gibb said:
These measures will cut red tape and allow local authorities to focus on their strategic role as champions of young people, taking action where they identify significant issues in terms of gaps in supply or quality, particularly in ensuring access amongst the most vulnerable groups.
These moves further underline our principle of freeing up schools and colleges to focus on providing an excellent education to their students.
Martin Doel, Chief Executive, Association of Colleges, said:
These changes will be welcomed by colleges as a means by which the funding arrangements for 16- to 18-year-olds can be simplified and in the process costs contained to the benefit of front-line services to students. They are also entirely consistent with the wider government policy of ‘setting colleges free’.
Local authorities must be key partners in influencing and informing college provision to young people, and in particular vulnerable learners. We look forward to discussing with local authority partners how this might best be achieved.
Mark Bramwell, Principal of Totton College and Chair of the Sixth-form Colleges’ Forum stated:
I welcome this announcement. Sixth-form colleges value the relationship they have with local authorities but these decisions tick all the right boxes in terms of a simpler system achieving better value for money. The decisions also reflect the fact that we have a national funding methodology and a national service to students in sixth-form colleges.
Dr Richard Williams, Chief Executive, Rathbone, said:
By passing payments and contract management responsibility to the Young People’s Learning Agency, and letting us work in partnership with local authorities, the government is emphasising both the importance of local government in the planning and development of services for young people and ensuring that funding gets to the frontline on a basis which minimises costs.
The government has already announced outstanding FE and sixth-form colleges will be exempt from routine inspection, that sixth-form colleges will no longer be required to undertake surveys of learners views and that plans to introduce in-year funding adjustments would be scrapped.
Notes to editors
Under the current system, LAs are required to form sub-regional groups and regional planning groups to support the planning and commissioning of 16 to 19 education provision.
* Sub-regional and regional planning groups
* Payment of further education providers. The new system cuts out a layer of bureaucracy, with the YPLA paying sixth-form colleges, further education colleges and other training providers direct, so freeing up local authorities to focus on their strategic role in 16 to 19 education.
* The Young People’s Learning Agency. The YPLA supports the training and education of all 16- to 19-year-olds in England.