STUDENTS and staff at York College welcomed a visit from a local MP to discuss further education funding for current and future students.

The visit came ahead of the Government’s Budget announcement this month, and York Outer MP Julian Sturdy was urged by York College, on behalf of the Association of Colleges (AoC), to call and campaign for fairer funding for colleges.

Dr Alison Birkinshaw, president of the AoC and principal of York College, said: “We do our absolute best to provide a broad and rich curriculum for our students but with only just enough funding to cover 15 hours tuition a week for 16 and 17-year-olds, and 12 hours for an 18-year-old, it is not even enough to cover the cost of delivering three A-levels. We must invest in our young people because they are the future.”

Student Abigail Harman studies four A-levels at York College - maths, further maths, physics and music technology.

She said: “There are real concerns around Further Education sector funding. In my case in order to have a chance of getting into a competitive higher education institution such as Oxford or Cambridge I have to do far more extra study to that which is on the on the curriculum.

"To prepare for the Mathematics admissions test for Oxford University I came into college during half term, mere days before the exam. The additional tuition I received was outside of the 15 hours per week that York College can provide from their budget. More funding is required for future students to have a fair chance at getting onto competitive courses.”

The decision to leave the European Union requires an urgent focus on supporting young people and adults to meet the future skills needs of businesses, York College said. In the UK, colleges support more than two million people to improve their skills to help them get into work and earn more. York College believes the Government needs to use this Budget to increase that investment.

The college also said fair funding for education of 16 to 18-year-olds would result in more people getting technical and professional training to help build a highly skilled workforce, boost productivity and improve social mobility.

Mr Sturdy said: “York College provides an outstanding education to its students and we have to recognise that sustaining this requires the necessary investment and funding. I am encouraged that funding is being provided for the delivery of the new T-Level qualification, but we cannot overlook existing courses such as A-levels and vocational equivalents. The required base uplift is achievable and I am confident we can make progress in this area."