First day back in Parliament after the summer recess and I was pleased to support a national campaign to increase education funding for 16-18 year olds. Sixth form and FE colleges have been especially bad hit by austerity-driven cuts in recent years.
The Raise the Rate campaign wants the government to increase the core funding rate from £4,000 a year to at least £4,760. The rate's been frozen since 2013 and that's forced more than half of schools and colleges across England to cut courses in languages and 78% to reduce student support services or extra-curricular activities.
I joined other MPs in writing to Sajid Javid urging him to increase the funding rate. He's doing so, but by only £200 per student which is well short of the £760 per student that Brighton colleges need and that Raise the Rate and Parliament's education select committee is calling for. The extra money will not be sufficient for most colleges to provide the support required by disadvantaged students.
Young people in Brighton are looking for a quality education, training or apprenticeships so they can find the jobs they want, or the promotion they deserve. I'll keep campaigning until they get it.