This House of Commons Library Briefing Paper provides a summary of how funding for adult further education (including apprenticeships) in England has changed since 2010.Jump to full report >>
The initial teaching and learning funding allocations for adult further education (FE) and skills in England fell from a 2010-11 baseline of £3.18 billion to £2.94 billion in 2015‑16, a reduction of 8% in cash terms or 14% in real terms. The allocation for 2015‑16 fell further as a result of the 2015 Summer Budget, which reduced the non-apprenticeship part of the Adult Skills Budget (ASB) by an additional 3.9%.
While funding for community learning and offender learning stayed fairly constant over the period, ASB funding declined by 29% in cash terms between 2010-11 and 2015-16 – this in part connected to the replacement of grant funding with loan funding for some learners from 2013-14 onwards. The minimum annual funding allocated to adult apprenticeships increased by 113% between 2010-11 and 2015-16, meaning that non-apprenticeship funding comprised a smaller proportion of the reduced ASB.
Actual expenditure on adult FE by the Skills Funding Agency (SFA) shows a similar pattern, with expenditure on community learning and offender learning staying constant but ASB spending falling by 32% in cash terms between 2010-11 and 2015-16, from £3.63 billion to £2.48 billion. Within the ASB, expenditure on adult apprenticeships increased from £0.45 billion to £0.71 billion over the period (an increase of 58%), while non-apprenticeship ASB spending fell by 54%, from £2.50 billion to £1.14 billion. It should be noted that these figures do not include spending on Advanced Learner Loans. In the 2013-14 academic year, the Student Loans Company paid out £116 million in loans; in 2014-15 it paid out £145 million.
Under the Spending Review 2015 settlement the newly created Adult Education Budget (comprising the ASB plus community learning and discretionary learner support) is set to be held constant in cash terms at £1.5 billion up to 2019-20. Funding for apprenticeships and loans is set to increase by 92% and 140% respectively between the 2015-16 baseline and 2019-20. From 2017-18 onwards, apprenticeship funding will, in part, be provided via the apprenticeship levy.
Commons Briefing papers CBP-7708
Author: David Foster