Commenting on the announcement by Gavin Williamson of a £14m fund for further education, Dr Mary Bousted, joint general secretary of the National Education Union, said:

“The Government’s announcement for the whole FE sector is £700 million short of what is actually needed. More money is of course welcome, but this is not getting us anywhere close to fixing the roof. The system is broken. Colleges are financially struggling, with staff numbers decimated. We need money for staff: parity with schools would require a £7000 pay catch-up for FE college teachers. 

The Government must explain why it will not fund staff pay and training and help create a permanent and stable skilled workforce across the entire post 16 sector.  That is why so many of our members in sixth form colleges are on strike today in their own fight for improved pay, conditions and employment through better funding for 16-19 education.”