Hartlepool college boss calls for review after report suggests ‘financial punishment’ over failing students

Darren Hankey
Darren Hankey

A college chief has called for a detailed review into the education of 14 to 18-year-olds after a thinktank report suggested schools should be punished financially for failing students.

The Policy Exchange suggested earlier this week that schools where pupils fail to achieve a minimum C grade at GCSE maths and English should be made to pay for subsequent exam resits at colleges of further education.

The Policy Exchange report said schools should be charged a “resit levy” per pupil to compensate for their failure to ensure that the student has achieved baseline qualifications, and cover the cost of transferring to an FE college to resit.

Report author Natasha Porter said: “It is unfair for some schools to pass the buck to FE colleges who are already facing extreme funding pressures to fix a problem they have not caused themselves.”

Darren Hankey, principal at Hartlepool College of Further Education, said: “It is right to highlight the that funding for FE colleges, which is not protected by the Government unlike that of schools, has been cut severely since 2010.

“I’m personally not too sure that punishing schools is the way forward as Policy Exchange recommend.

“That said, along with comments made recently by Lord Baker and the CBI re the usefulness of GCSEs, it does add to calls for a wider debate regarding 14-18 education.

“It is extremely fragmented and disjointed in terms of curriculum, funding and structures and, for me, a detailed review is due.”

The National Union of Teachers has echoed Mr Hankey’s thoughts by calling for a more detailed review across the system.

Christine Blower, general secretary of the NUT, said: “The Coalition Government slashed 16-19 funding and it will be cut again under this Government.

“The answer is not to rob Peter to pay Paul but to fund all schools and colleges properly, to recruit more teachers and help them support students to make the most of the talents of our young people.”