Furness College has always been proud to offer a wide range of opportunities for adults to retrain or upskill but now funding for adult education is at a critical stage.
The college is facing demands for a substantial amount of its grant funding from Government to be repaid because fewer adults have been able or willing to study during the pandemic.
The Department for Education and Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) has set a lower reconciliation threshold for ESFA-funded providers, whose grant funding is paid on profile throughout the academic year, to 90% for the 2020 to 2021 academic year.
This means that the ESFA will reclaim any under delivery below 90%. For Furness College this means that we will have to pay back around £640,000 in funding, in a year where colleges have faced extraordinary challenges.
Furness College Principal and Chief Executive Andrew Wren said: “The vast majority of our adult provision is in technical training, such as welding, electrical engineering and construction skills. Clearly, it was impossible to deliver these courses during the lockdown period when the college was closed. In addition, adults have showed significant reluctance to participate in Further Education from September choosing to defer their starts until September 2021.”
“There have been very limited opportunities to reskill the adult workforce as there have been fewer redundancies in Furness compared to the national average, reflecting the Engineering and Advanced Manufacturing dominance of local industry, including supply chains. Whilst this is obviously very good news for the area, the College has not been able to engage adult for reskilling as have other colleges.
“Reducing capacity for adult skills is entirely at odds with the country’s longer term needs as we seek to recover from the impact of the pandemic.”
The Association of Colleges is still in discussions with the Department for Education over the ESFA decision but impacts are imminent. This decision will impact many UK colleges profoundly and Furness College is supporting a national petition – set up by Leicester College Students’ Union – to cancel the clawback.
You can support us by signing the official petition here.
You can find out more about our adult education courses with immediate start available here.