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The government wants to work with the further education sector on a plan for English maths in colleges, the Education Secretary has said.

In a letter sent to AoC Chief Executive David Hughes on 6 March, Gillian Keegan says she recognises the issues AoC raised on behalf of its members and commits to working collaboratively with AoC and the sector to help young people progress.

The government recently announced that alongside additional funding, colleges and schools will be required to deliver a set number of hours for English and maths teaching and that the current 5% tolerance which allows for some students not to take a resit will be removed. AoC raised strong concerns from college leaders about the impact this could have on young people and the almost impossible challenge it presents to colleges because pay is not sufficient to attract and retain the lecturers to teach extra hours of English and maths.

The pay gap between school and college teachers stands at £9,000 and schools themselves are struggling to recruit, particularly for maths. Until colleges are funded to close that gap, pay will remain a major barrier to supporting more young people to progress in their learning. The letter helpfully acknowledges this, with Ms Keegan saying: “... we agree that the investment we make inherently supports the sector to invest in its people, and I agree that this is a priority.”

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