Colleges Week takes place from Monday 15th October to Friday 19th October 2018 and is part of the ‘Love Our Colleges’ campaign. Solihull College & University Centre are supporting the initiative as well as a national lobby of Parliament on Wednesday 17th October.
The ‘Love Our Colleges’ campaign is a partnership between Association of Colleges (AoC), National Union of Students (NUS), Association of College and School Leaders (ASCL), University and Colleges Union (UCU), Unison, GMB, TUC and National Education Union (NEU).
Colleges and College staff transform lives. Whether it’s through top-class technical education, basic skills or lifelong learning, colleges help people of all ages and backgrounds to make the most of their talents and ambitions. Rooted in local communities, they are crucial in driving social mobility and providing the skills to boost local and regional economies.
An essential part of England’s education system Colleges educate and train 2.2 million people every year. Colleges Week is an opportunity to highlight the brilliant work that goes on. It is also an opportunity to call on the government for better investment in colleges, and fair pay for college staff. Over the last decade, colleges have had to deal with an average 30% funding cut, whilst costs have increased dramatically. This has resulted in a drastic drop in learning opportunities for adults, fewer hours of teaching and support for young people, and teacher pay at less than 80% of schools and support staff seeing no increase in pay for several years. This situation is not sustainable and ultimately impacts upon students, businesses, communities and the wider economy. There is currently a reduction in education funding once a student turns 16 – whether they are in a school sixth form or a college. ‘Love Our Colleges’ is calling on the government to increase 16-19 funding by 5% a year for 5 years.
It is also asking the Department for Education to provide exceptional funding, ring-fenced for teacher pay.
John Callaghan Principal at Solihull College & University Centre said: “Our young people are being short-changed compared with their counterparts in other countries and compared with previous generations. The hours of teaching and support, the choice they have and the enrichment they are offered have all reduced as funding cuts have taken their toll. We want to also ensure that our staff are given the recognition and reward for the brilliant work they do and this situation cannot continue if we are to secure the future of our nation.”
David Hughes, Chief Executive, Association of Colleges, said: “Every single day colleges like Solihull College & University Centre provide a world class education and transform the lives of millions of people.
Colleges Week is an opportunity to celebrate the brilliant things that go on and a chance to showcase the brilliant staff that make it possible. It is simple, if we want a world-class education system then we need to properly invest in it.”