Highbury College principal calls for rethink to cuts

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THE principal of Highbury College has called upon the government to rethink its plan to cut funding for 18-year-olds in full-time education.

The cuts, which are expected to be proposed in March, will disproportionately affect students from Portsmouth and other areas where GCSE attainment is below the national average.

The changes were announced in a letter from the Education Funding Agency (EFA) which was sent to colleges last week.

The proposed cuts mean colleges will receive 17.5 per cent less funding for the education of 18-year-olds, compared to 16-17-year-olds.

Stella Mbubaegbu said: ‘These cuts target the most disadvantaged students in some of the least privileged areas of the UK, while protecting those who are already in a more fortunate position.

‘The government says that most 18-year-olds will already have benefited from two years of post-16 education and will not therefore need as much provision as 16 and 17-year-olds.

‘This may be true in areas where GCSE pass rates are high, but in areas where they are not, many more students will remain at college beyond the age of 18.’