Hartlepool principal slams further education cuts

Darren Hankey outside Hartlepool College of Further Education with students.
Darren Hankey outside Hartlepool College of Further Education with students.

A Hartlepool college principal has slammed the funding cuts to further education.

Darren Hankey, principal at Hartlepool College of Further Education, slammed the funding shortage during Colleges Week, saying English college students are receiving almost half the teaching hours given to European counterparts.

He has thrown his weight behind Colleges Week campaigning for improved sector funding, saying English students are falling behind on the global stage.

Darren said: "Young people on the continent studying in their respective further education and skills sector will receive between 25 and 30 hours of tuition per week.

"In England this will be closer to 15 hours per week - for every week that passes an English student falls behind their European counterparts.

"More affluent English students will have opportunities for private tuition which won't be afforded for all - so for many falling further behind is inevitable."

Denmark has a minimum of 26 teaching hours per week, Norway has 24.5, while the Netherlands has 40 hours per week.

The stark statistics are from the Association of Colleges (AoC), which also highlights the 30% cut in funding the sector has faced over the last 10 years and that adult education funding has reduced by 45% since 2009.

Darren, a regional campaigner for better funding across the sector, added: "If we're truly serious about opportunity and social justice better funding of the English further education and skills sector is a must."

The Colleges Week ‘Love Our Colleges' campaign, run by the Association of Colleges (AoC) and taking place between October 15 - 19, will include lobbying of Parliament.

It is asking the Government to take into consideration plans to increase funding for 16-19-year-olds by 5% every year until 2023 and provide additional funding for teachers across the FE sector.

Hartlepool College of Further Education is joining forces with other colleges in the region to present a strong regional message throughout the week.

For more information on Colleges Week and the many activities taking place at colleges throughout the country, go to the Colleges Week website at https://www.collegesweek.co.uk.