§ Margaret Hodge
We have acknowledged the historic gap between funding in schools and further education (FE) colleges and we have pledged to bring up the levels of support for FE to ensure upward convergence of funding between the two sectors. We will do this over time and as resources allow. However, as independent corporations, it is for each FE college to agree annual pay rises and conditions of employment with its staff in the context of the overall resources available to it.
We are investing significant funding in the FE sector. An additional £314 million is available for FE this year compared with 2001–02 and by 2003–04, total funding for FE will be up by 26 per cent. in real terms since 1997, with total funding per full-time equivalent student up by 16 per cent. over the same period. Separate to any general pay rise a FE lecturer may receive, the Teaching Pay Initiative (TPI) provides £311 million over the period 2001–04 to reward excellent teaching. The substantial additional investment we are making in the sector should help the FE sector support the pay aspirations of their staff.