Post-16 Education

This is the page for Post-16 Education in Brighton and Hove

About the Campaign



Colleges provide sixth form study and further education to thousands of young people – and especially young people who have left school, want to take minority or specialist subjects – perhaps to study at university – or train for employment. Yet central government is making cuts of 24% in the funding of colleges and these cuts come on top of the removal of the Education Maintenance Allowance and increases in tuition fees for many young people, adults and university students. Education cuts are short sighted, damage the prospects of economic recovery and, worst of all, remove essential opportunities for education from young people and adults. Now Sussex Downs College – the college that took over Park Sixth Form College in Eastbourne some years ago and is now the only college in Lewes and Eastbourne – wants to make huge cuts to its sixth form courses. This will mean that young people in Eastbourne, in particular, will be denied access to a sixth form college education that is available in other parts of Sussex. The College has written to many students, weeks before the summer and long after they have chosen to their courses, telling them courses will not be running. The College will no longer deliver Foreign Language courses, Film, or PE at A-Level to young people in Eastbourne despite the College being responsible for nearly all state funded A-Level classes in the town.

And on top of the withdrawal of courses, the College is cutting the number of teaching hours that A-Level  students will receive as well as vital student support services and is closing a library. These cuts will discriminate against students who do not have access to their own books and who need additional support. The cuts will also mean experienced and dedicated teachers are losing their jobs. College teachers and the NUT are calling on management to halt these cuts. Young People in Eastbourne deserve better than this.

Please send a message to Sussex Downs Management and the Government or sign the petition here

To defend post 16 education, teachers in the NUT at the College are holding a series of strikes that could last well into the Autumn term if management will put young people and their education before cuts. For more information please contact

Post 16 Education Question Time: Slides and Contributions

Here’s a short report on our Post 16 Education Question Time and, below it, are the presentations from Professor Ken Spours and Eddie Playfair (Principal of NewVIC).

Our Post 16 Education Question Time sparked a debate about the purpose and focus of post 16 further and adult education. Should colleges prioritise vocational education and apprenticeship training or have a wider role? Can post 16 colleges do everything from sponsor academies, provide apprenticeships, ‘A’ levels and vocational qualifications, offer basic and adult education and higher education and degree level programmes? Or should they stick to what they do and know best? Sixth form colleges tend to stick to what they do best (and do it well). Should FE colleges do likewise?

Has incorporation and competition between colleges worked (as Professor Ann Hodgson has asked)? Should colleges prioritise collaboration and partnership over competition? Can all colleges ‘win’ if they are all in competition? If some colleges ‘win’ must we accept that others will ‘lose’? Can colleges that prioritise inclusion and the needs of young people and adults compete successfully with colleges that prioritise high achievers and business training? How can colleges plan together when they are expected to compete with each other? Should colleges be expected to compete with the private sector? Should colleges behave as if they are private sector companies?

Should colleges be more or less accountable to their communities? Should they respond, primarily, to national and local economic interests or to their local community? Who should determine the curriculum offered by colleges? Principals and colleges? National or local politicians? Local businesses? Students? Government departments or national awarding bodies and agencies?

Can colleges survive another 24% cut in adult funding? What courses will be cut first? What will be the impact on the pay and conditions of managers, lecturers and support staff? As John Harris has written: Do these cuts make economic recovery, social inclusion and lifelong learning more ,or less, likely?

Do we need a bigger campaign to promote and defend post 16 education? Should we expect principals, corporation members and colleges to support campaigns defending post 16 education (like Newham College)?

Professor Ken Spours’ presentation (second slide) plus slides from a similar presentation he made: Big Education, New Times KS Combined

Eddie Playfair’s presentation (as intended):

Monday 8th June at 7pm

What’s going on in post-16 education & training?

Post-16 Education Question Time

Sports Café BHASVIC

Post-16 flyer image  BCE_post-16_8June2015_leaflet_A4

There’s much going on in sixth form college, further and adult education that worries students, lecturers, policy shapers and others including concerns over the narrowing of syllabi for A levels and the cut of 24% in the adult education budget; concerns over the inadequacy of funding to support college students with additional needs and the emphasis on apprenticeships as the only alternative for young people who don’t want to go to university; the limiting of access to ESOL provision and the application of VAT as a ‘tax’ on sixth form colleges. And then there’s Ofsted, the debate over the balance of examinations or continuous assessment and the introduction of student ‘loans’ for much further education.

Come and ask questions of our panel, discuss these issues and more with:

  • Eddie Playfair – Chair of Sixth Form Colleges Association & Principal of Newham Sixth Form College;
  • Professor Ken Spours – Co-Director of the Centre for Post-14 Research and Innovation at the Institute of Education & contributor to a number of reports on post 16 education and training;
  • Joy Mercer – former Director of Education Policy at the Association of Colleges;
  • Mandy Brown – UCU NEC & Action for ESOL;
  • Nigel Fox – NUT Regional Representative for Sixth Form Colleges;
  • Chair: Dr Nadia Edmond – Campaign for Education & UCU University of Brighton.




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