The Minister made the announcement as Wales’ Further Education (FE) colleges and local authorities learn of their funding allocations for Post-16 in the forthcoming year.
Within challenging budget settlements, the Minister has opted to introduce stability within the sector by providing three year allocations for the first time in line with One Wales commitments.
This will allow institutions to plan more strategically through these difficult times. In doing this the National Planning and Funding System will be set aside and a Post-16 funding review will be conducted during this period.
In 2011/12 Further Education colleges in Wales will see an overall reduction in their funding of -1.39 per cent. Local Authorities, who have responsibility for funding school sixth forms will see a reduction in their funding of -1.5 per cent.
However, funding in future years for Post-16 is set to increase:
Indicative figures show in 2012/13 FE and local authority funding for Post-16 will increase by 2.5 per cent, and will increase by a further 1 per cent in 2013/14.
Education Minister Leighton Andrews said:
“There can be little doubt that we face the most difficult financial settlement Wales has received since the advent of devolution. This is why I have opted to move to three year budgets for Post 16 education to bring about stability in the system while we review future funding arrangements.
“Against that backdrop of falling budgets, I am pleased that even though there is a slight reduction in Post-16 funding in the next academic year, funding for colleges and school sixth forms is set to rise in the coming years.
“We are currently reviewing the Post-16 (except HE) Funding Methodology in Wales to see whether it’s the best way forward for Post-16 in these challenging financial times.
“I want to see standards of education rising across the board and at every level. Following disappointing PISA results, never has this been more important . While that work is being undertaken I have decided to suspend the NPFS and allocate Post-16 funding on a flat rate basis.”