Further moves to privatise post-16 education will undermine efforts to build strong further and higher education foundations in Britain, a union chief will warn today.
Sally Hunt, general secretary of the Universities and College Union (UCU), will press the government to avoid increasing the financial burden on students later today.
Around a third of the UK's further and higher education system is privately funded. In the last ten years public spending on post-16 education has risen by six per cent, an increase dwarfed by the 80 per cent growth in spending from the private sector.
Ms Hunt, addressing the UCU's annual conference, will tell delegates they can expect reforms to make the sector more "demand-led, employer dominated and market-driven" in the future.
"Our system, once the envy of the world, is now the most privatised in Europe," she will say.
"I have emphasised again and again that the defence of our profession will be a priority for me in UCU. Our campaigning work around challenging the market is a defining moment in that defence."
University tuition fee levels will be reviewed next year.