Students and staff from North Warwickshire and South Leicestershire have added their voices to the call for the Chancellor to address the lack of funding in the further education sector ahead of this year’s comprehensive spending review.
Using a range of media, students from across the College’s campuses have fashioned love hearts out of wood, paper, cake and even construction tools to show their support for the ‘Love our Colleges’ week of activity. They have even deployed a 3D printer at the MIRA Technology Institute to print out a bespoke heart model.
Their efforts are designed to add weight to a national campaign that supports an increase in Government investment in further education. The total college income in England has fallen by £1 billion since the start of the decade. This is a real-terms reduction of more than 25% which has left the funding rate per student at inadequate levels, resulting in fewer hours of teaching, less student support and pressure on college viability.
NWSLC supports 2,960 young people aged 16-19, another 100 aged under 16, more than 6,500 adults, 1,100 apprentices and around 300 higher education students at five campuses in Nuneaton, Hinckley and Wigston.
The College has stated that without a commitment from the Treasury to properly fund further education, the country will struggle to develop and train the right skill needed for future economic prosperity.
Marion Plant, OBE, FCGI, Principal and Chief Executive of North Warwickshire and South Leicestershire College said, “Funding for colleges has been cut by almost 30% from 2009 to 2019. A decade of almost continuous cuts and constant reforms have led to a significant reduction in the resources available for teaching and support for those in colleges.
“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.”
Student comments left on heart-shaped messages and added to the Tree of Knowledge in campus receptions included:
“I love the College because it gives me support and time.”
“I like the supportive staff.”
“College is a helpful and friendly place to be.”
“I like the trips and experiences.”
“The College community is lively and exciting.”
Asked why they were supporting the ‘Love our Colleges’ campaign, staff said,
“Our college community has a heart that cares. As chaplain and a youth worker, I take great interest in the power of education to transform lives and to allow individuals to reflect on their own development. This can only be done if the learning environment is one of warmth, challenge and inspiration. At NWSLC, I believe there is a powerful sense that we are not just here for ourselves, but also for one another. I have seen first-hand how this can inspire growth and I believe it is at the core of what we are as a college.”
Rev Stephen Blyth – Chaplaincy
“As an apprentice, I love the support and understanding that I experience from all the staff. Being dyslexic is difficult at times but the support I receive helps me to overcome any difficulties.”
Anil Daji – Digital Marketing Apprentice
“I love our college because it provides a protective space for our students to find their strengths, work with their weaknesses and take risks that will inform their futures. Not a day goes by when I’m not inspired by the ideas and talents of our students.”
Carrie-Anne Abdulai – Director for Higher Education and Access Provision
“I love the College because of the wonderful community that exists to support students on their journey to a fulfilling career.”
Luke Hornsby – 16 to 18 Study Programmes Assistant
“I love our college because it is full of inspirational people who believe in making better futures for the young people in our local communities.”
Lynsey Smith – Director for Study Programmes