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LIFELONG PARTNERS: SCOTLAND'S SCHOOLS AND COLLEGES BUILDING THE FOUNDATIONS OF A LIFELONG LEARNING SOCIETY: A Strategy for Partnership

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SECTION 6
Funding Arrangements

6.1 Given that partnership will be developed with a view to the long term, clear and stable funding arrangements are necessary. Funding must also be sustainable.

6.2 We considered whether there is any scope for releasing funds dedicated to school pupils' school education when those pupils undertake college courses. We are not persuaded that there are reciprocal savings. Given that education authorities and schools remain responsible for the whole package of pupils' learning and welfare, irrespective of where that pupil is learning at any given time, savings that may notionally exist on paper are unlikely to be realised. We recognise that school/college activity is supplemental activity to education delivered by schools. It will therefore be financed in addition to funding for schools.

6.3 We are in the business of removing unnecessary barriers, not creating them. It would be perverse for us to prevent local authorities from having the option to fund colleges directly for additional college activities for pupils in their area if that is their local priority (and the college concerned is able and willing to meet this demand). The level of funding could be calculated using the SFEFC funding formula.

Fee-Waiver

6.4 It was never a matter of policy that fee income should be denied to colleges. The current funding situation, which generally denies this income, is anomalous. The rules governing fee-waiver will therefore be revised in August 2005 to ensure that college activities for state school pupils that form part of their school-based curriculum are eligible for automatic fee-waiver. Automatic fee-waiver will similarly be available for other pupils whose education is funded by the state. Normal rules for fee-waiver entitlement, which are based on household income, will continue to apply to pupils receiving private education or being educated at home. The funding available to colleges for fee-waiver will be increased accordingly.

6.5 There is no evidence at this stage to justify further specific increases in college funding for pupils learning in college or in school. SFEFC will keep this matter under review.

Funding Mechanism

6.6SFEFC will ensure through strategic oversight that colleges aim towards equitable access of provision for pupils across Scotland and that colleges' distinctive ethos and autonomy are maintained. Decisions on the type and scale of provision will be taken locally on the basis of agreements between colleges and schools/local authorities. The activity of pupils undertaking college activity will be funded by SFEFC in the same way as other activity including fee-waiver and usual funding supplements for pupils in rural or deprived areas. The funding methodology will also take account of those pupils requiring extended learning support.

6.7SFEFC will monitor the level of all school/college activity (irrespective of the source of funding) at a national, local authority, and college level.

Local Authority/School Funding Responsibilities

6.8 Local authorities/schools are responsible for arranging and funding the transport for pupils arising from school/college partnership.

6.9 Local authorities/schools are responsible for paying colleges the costs of lunch for school pupils eligible for free school meals who eat lunch in the college. They are responsible for funding the costs of the materials associated with particular courses, including overalls and course books, etc. They are also responsible for reimbursing colleges for the cost of any additional pastoral support for pupils exceptionally attending college full-time.

Transport

6.10 Transport arrangements can be challenging, especially for pupils in geographically inaccessible areas and for pupils who cannot access public transport because of physical or mobility impairments. The innovation and pragmatism of existing local arrangements will be developed further by local authorities and schools. Even with this, transport arrangements have the potential to frustrate partnership. We will grasp the opportunity which the two years of piloting the skills for work courses presents to establish clearly the evidence of the pattern and resource implications of transport arrangements (and other direct costs borne by the local authority and school) to support the growth in the full range of school/college partnership activities, including growth as a result of the delivery of skills for work courses. This will help inform consideration for future Spending Reviews. Funding currently available to local authorities and schools through Determined to Succeed can be used to support vocational partnerships, including associated transport arrangements.