The college building programme, a desperately needed 2.7 billion pound project to replace crumbling and cramped buildings country-wide, has actually only got 110 million pounds to spend, according to the Prime Minister when questioned by a Member of Parliament. The whole national programme, then, could just afford to pay for the two Worthing rebuilds when there are 136 projects around the country on hold.
The Learning Support Council (LSC) funding story has descended into farce since I posted about the first problem a few weeks ago.
Many colleges have already spent up to 2 million pounds on the detailed planning provisions and face going bust if the projects cannot go ahead in the autumn as planned.
And then the LSC writes to every college in the country to confirm next year's budgets, allowing the recruitment to increase student numbers, only to decide later that they meant to say that these were provisional budgets, which will have to be reduced by 100 million pounds. With some colleges losing up to 250 thousand pounds from next year's accounts, redundancies look likely. Having built up expectations for college buildings that are fit to learn in (my college has 1600 students in what used to be a 600 boy middle-school), and emphasising the need for an expansion of education in a recession, the minister Ed Balls has messed up again. The head of the LSC has resigned, but Balls remains Teflon coated.