Commenting on the passing of motion 32 at the National Education Union’s Annual Conference, which is being held virtually, Kevin Courtney, Joint General Secretary of the National Education Union, said:

“The post-16 sector was already facing huge challenges before Covid, especially in terms of funding and pay for teachers and lecturers.  The Government's White Paper misses the opportunity to address these problems.

“The cuts in funding since 2010 have decimated provision in the post 16 sector, with 50% of adult learning places gone, little demand for 16-18 apprenticeships, and inadequate funding per student even after the increases announced in the November 2020 spending review.

“Pay for FE college teachers has fallen behind pay for teachers in schools by around £7,000 per head.  Given the important and invaluable role that FE colleges play in the education of young people, this disparity in both funding and pay is a disgrace.

“The NEU's success in mobilising member support and securing pay parity with schools for sixth form college teachers has shown the value of trade union activism. However, long-term stability can only be secured by an increase in funding for the whole of the post-16 sector.

“The NEU will continue to support joint work on this issue, such as the #loveourcolleges campaign undertaken by the Association of Colleges and the trade unions, which seeks an increase in the funding rate to £5k per learner.  If the Government is to achieve its agenda of levelling up and the promise of better jobs, it must restore funding and pay in the sector.”