Further education is on life support. Slowly but surely, it has had the life squeezed out of it across all four nations. Vital organs failing bit by bit, core support amputated. We’ve seen cuts to maintenance support, budgets carved up, slashing of staff numbers and pay, axing of courses, adult student numbers crashing.
Further Education’s very own Dr Frankenstein, Nick Boles MP, announced in the summer that colleges in England will be rationalised through a process of mergers; basically cutting and sticking colleges together.
Over the next two years during area reviews, you need to make sure your students are heard loud and clear. You need to fight with your students to get better transport and funding for transport as students are travelling further for longer. You need to fight with your students to make sure that the courses you want to do are still available in your town and in your community. You need to fight with your students to make sure that as colleges merge, resources, bursaries and staff aren’t stretched. And I’m going to fight with you.
That’s why we’re launching #FEunplugged because the government can’t just pull the plug on further education without a fight.
I want you to get involved with this campaign. Find out what the vital things your students need to keep them in their education. Fight for them in your communities, in your colleges and nationally.
And don’t just wait until your college is going through an area review. You need to be fighting to make education better for your students now.
This government still underestimates students studying at FE colleges. They think we’re apathetic and that we don’t understand how these attacks impact us, our futures and the futures of everyone who can benefit from our amazing sector. We must prove them wrong.
I’m checking our vital signs and I know we can keep FE alive.