Summary: Funding workstream

This workstream identified how funding mechanisms might enable all providers within the FE system to use Learning Technology more effectively and support learners. Key themes included removing barriers and disincentives for new Learning Technology providers to the regulated and funded FE training system, and ensuring overall goals and therefore success measures of funding (and regulation) system are regularly updated to take account of relevant, new learning technologies.

Draft recommendations:

  1. Ensure the funding system is fit-for-purpose: establish a regulatory and funding system that fully supports the adoption of new technologies and learning methods, one that challenges and adapts its quality and success measures to ensure its benchmark is the FE sector’s leading edge
  2. Level the funding playing field: remove barriers and disincentives for new entrants to the regulated and funded ‘FE’ training provider system

Your views:

  • Building on these proposals, what specific changes to funding are needed to make the biggest difference to you?
  • Can you suggest any good mechanisms for achieving these recommendations?
  • Are there other issues relating to funding that should be considered?

Rate the funding workstream:
In your opinion, how useful are these draft recommendations on funding ( 5 = very, 1 = not at all).

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Rating: 1.1/5 (8 votes cast)
Funding, 1.1 out of 5 based on 8 ratings

6 thoughts on “Funding

  1. Seb Schmoller

    If “Level the funding playing field: remove barriers and disincentives for new entrants to the regulated and funded ‘FE’ training provider system.” happens, then there should be a level playing field between schools and FE in relation to the learners that schools and FE each recruit.

    Secondly, there is wide variation in the difficulty that different learners in the same age group and on the same courses face. FE colleges have a very important societal role, which to a considerable extent involves helping learners to succeed who have previously been failed by schools. This valuable work can be expensive. New entrants might be able to make a fist of provision at lower levels funding per learner by “cherry-picking the easy learners”. So care needed here.

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  2. Crispin Weston

    The language here strikes me as very opaque. There seems to be a muddle here between “providers within the FE system” and “providers of learning technology”. These are very different sorts of player and their relationship needs to be explained much more clearly.

    I am assuming that the funding of FE is outside the remit of this report – but this seems to be the issue at stake in Seb’s comment regarding how capitation fees are adjusted to provide education to hard learners.

    If “leveling the playing field” means giving extra funding to FE colleges to adopt new TEL fads (the sort of non-pedagogies identified by the very thin OU report that accompanies this report), then you will encourage the adoption of ineffective practice and we will carry on bumping along the bottom. Good education technology should save money. It should not need extra funding.

    What *are* needed are the market infrastructures that ensure successful technologies are developed, reliably identified and then widely replicated, but only where that technology genuinely improves the efficiency of the FE service. Such technology will never emerge (and *has* never emerged to date) so long as regulatory and central funding approaches are used to push unproven but fashionable technologies onto colleges.

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  3. Dawn

    The funding methodology needs to become more flexible allowing FE Colleges to claim GLH for new approaches that don’t fit the traditional view of GLH. Ed Tech approaches still requires preparation and facilitation.

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  4. Ben Rowland

    Here’s what I believe the Government should do in relation to funding that will stimulate FE to adopt new technology in the right way:

    1. Announce and deliver a reduction in funding for all Government funding by 2% in nominal terms every year for the next 10 years, with no difference between ‘online’, ‘offline’ and ‘blended’ courses, ensuring that that offline status quo cannot continue, and making it economically rational to invest in online delivery.

    2. Assume that 95% of vocational learning spending on technology by providers will be on a revenue basis (with only 5% on capital) by 2020 and adjust rules and expectations accordingly (in essence, Government should aim to spend as little as possible supporting FE institutions to buy boxes and wires, instead incentivising them to move to modern, scaleable and future-proofed cloud based services and ‘bring your own devices’ approaches).

    3. Stop providing capital funding for technology to existing providers (except where funding is part of FELTAG) in order to create a level playing field for private and new entrants, which in turn will stimulate private investment and product innovation.

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  5. David Phillips

    Funding is a key driver of behaviour, and funding mechanisms can be used to enable providers within the FE system to use learning technology more effectively to support learners.

    Funding is generally made available for both delivery and investment, and this is important to maintain.

    Pearson welcomes and supports investment in the exploration of learning technology innovation, but recognises the situation whereby lack of headroom to support innovation and risk-taking, even where investment funding may be available in the sector, means providers generally leave innovation to others. Funding the development, potential testing of assessments, and use of technology to support teaching and learning in FE may be best placed with agencies who have a remit for and a strategic overview of the enhancement of teaching and learning through the use of technology.

    Decisions on how to utilise funding for delivery are usually best made in the hands of individual providers as they are closest to the work at hand. However, providers do need to be supported in the adoption of new technologies and learning methods to allow them to explore and invest in those learning technologies that best meet the needs of their learners. These decisions need to be based on sound documented evidence; providers and suppliers of technology should invest in and share research into the efficacy of the different systems and the way they are used in the learning environment.
    Pearson welcomes Matthew Hancock’s announcement of the new Education Technology Action Group, chaired by Professor Stephen Heppell, which will identify how learning technology can be best used – across schools, universities and colleges. Learning technology is an opportunity to find efficiencies which enable funding to be used more effectively, especially in supporting access to learning for harder to reach groups.

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  6. Helen Milner

    At Tinder Foundation we’ve stayed away from the funded (and therefore restrictive world of FE Funding) – we work in the world of very informal learning, all delivered online and supported by hyperlocal people who are often volunteers. We are also able to do this at economies of scale – c. £30 per person developing basic online skills. The impact of our work is huge, eg 74% of our learners progress from basic online skills to further learning and because the learning is online this is easily accountable; but, we don’t want to be forced into a regime that will make us less responsive, less focused on the individual, and less innovative. We don’t want to change to fit the funding system; perhaps it’s the system that could change to fit us?

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