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Further and Higher Education Market Review Spring/Summer 2020

14 May 2020

Gambit announces the publication of its Further and Higher Education Market Review for Spring/Summer 2020.

To read the full report, please click here.

Summary – Higher Education

  • In recent years, the sector has been impacted by uncertainties and risks affecting the wider UK economy, including the UK’s negotiations surrounding its withdrawal from the European Union, upwards pressure on costs and the recent COVID-19 outbreak.
  • The Student Loans Company will bring forward £2.6 billion of tuition fee payments in the 2020/21 academic year to help relieve cash flow pressures as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.
  • Higher Education Institutions (“HEIs”) have historically remained resilient during periods of economic uncertainty. However, risks will need to be monitored closely if organisations are to ensure long-term sustainability.
  • UK HEIs have experienced steady growth in recent years, both in terms of income generation and student numbers.
  • The financial results for HEIs in Wales, however, show a relatively mixed position overall, with some reporting operating deficits of more than £180 million.

In Summary – Further Education

  • Income of UK FEIs has fallen in recent years, reflective of declining learner numbers and prolonged cuts to funding.
  • Funding is a fundamental challenge in Further Education. Funding for further education is fragmented, unpredictable and at a lower level per learner than higher education.
  • The Post-18 Review of Education and Funding (“The Review”) recommends that the Government provide Further Education Institutions (“FEIs”) with an additional £1 billion of capital investment and that further investment is made to improve the recruitment and retention of high-quality staff.
  • The Government has announced an increased focus towards investment in the development of T levels (the technical alternative to A levels) as suggested in The Review.
  • The Government has expressed its commitment to supporting students and FEIs during the COVID-19 pandemic, confirming that the Education and Skills Funding Agency (“ESFA”) will continue to pay grant funded providers in England, whilst Education Maintenance Allowance (“EMA”) payments will continue in Wales.