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Schools could close IT courses due to funding cuts

Kathleen Hall

IT courses for students taking A-levels at school could be closed due to funding gaps, according to a report from the Committee of Public Accounts on value for money in further education.

School sixth forms currently receive £280 per student more than colleges, but following the government's spending review, the Department for Education has committed to reduce all school funding to the amount colleges currently receive. This is due to be completed by 2015.

Principals at schools told the committee they had made savings by identifying expensive courses and closing them when funding falls below a certain level. Resource-intensive courses such as construction, science and technology are most at risk, they said. Other measures taken to reduce costs include increasing set sizes.

Margaret Hodge, chair of the committee, said smaller providers, such as school sixth forms, could save costs through collaboration. "However, the competitive market in which providers operate can act as a barrier to cooperation," she added.

The news comes as the IT industry prepares for another drop in the number of students studying IT-related courses as 2011's GCSE and A-level students await their exam results this month.

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