On the 26th of February, the government announced cuts in adult further education of 24% in 2015-16. This is on top of the 32% real terms cut to the adult skills budget since 2010. These cuts are a further blow to colleges which have already lost around one million learners. UNISON estimates that the cuts could lead to a loss of more than 400,000 college students in 2015/16 alone. These cuts will:
- Reduce the number of adults returning to learn or to retrain at a time when most people agree that education, skills and retraining should be a priority;
- Place colleges under severe financial pressure, leading to course or possibly institutional closures and redundancies;
- Affect vulnerable learners most severely, as more flexible courses are axed in favour of apprenticeships;
- Affect higher level courses as fewer students will be able to access learning which acts as a ‘stepping stone’.
Here in West Sussex we have seen constant reorganisations and redundancies in FE colleges such as Central Sussex College, Chichester College and Northbrook College.
UNISON members and their families are under attack, but even more important than this a generation of young people and their life chances are massively compromised and undermined by such savage cuts.
What you can do
A new website has been set up to raise awareness and campaign against these devastating cuts. Sign the petition, contact your MP, and email all your election candidates. It’s all made simple at the Save Adult Education website.