PM launches major review of post-18 education

Posted on 01 Mar 2018 and read 417 times
PM launches major review of post-18 educationDriving up quality, increasing choice and ensuring value for money are at the heart of a major review of post-18 education that was launched by the Prime Minister late last month.

Mrs May said that, while the UK already has a globally recognised higher-education system, with record rates of young people going to university, work is also under way to transform technical education post-16 by introducing new T levels (designed to provide technical qualifications to rival traditional academic options), while at the same time overhauling apprenticeships.

“Although significant progress has been made, it is clear that the current post-18 system is not working as well as it could be — for young people or for the country.

"The review will ensure that post-18 education gives everyone a genuine choice between high-quality technical, vocational and academic routes, that students and taxpayers are getting value for money, and that employers can access the skilled workforce they need.”

She also warned against “outdated attitudes” that favour academic over technical qualifications and pledged to use the review to look at “the whole post-18 education sector in the round, breaking down false boundaries between further and higher education to create a system that is truly joined up.”

The wide-ranging review will be ‘informed’ by independent advice from an expert panel from across post-18 education, business and academia; it will be chaired by Philip Augar, a leading author and former non-executive director of the Department for Education.

Mr Augar said: “I am delighted to chair this crucial review and to work alongside an excellent panel, experienced in many different parts of the tertiary education sector.

"A world-class post-18 education system has never been more important to business, society and the economy . . . This is a wide open and far-reaching review, and we begin with no preconceptions.

"Our first priority will be a serious examination of the evidence and hearing from a broad range of stakeholders who — like us — are committed to ensuring that the system works for everyone.

Neil Carberry, CBI managing director (people and infrastructure), said: “Businesses will be looking to the review to build on the strengths of our world-leading university sector and on the role further education plays in supporting
the industrial strategy.

"Maintaining a strong independent funding stream to universities through fees will be key, but there are important issues to address. These include the drop in part-time study, maintenance support for the most disadvantaged students and improving the provision of higher technical education. We look forward to working with the review team.”

David Hughes, chief executive of the Association of Colleges said: “I am very pleased that the review is looking at the whole system of post-18 education funding.

The growth in higher-education numbers and the widened access have almost exclusively been for young people taking traditional three-year undergraduate degrees, and that is good news.

"However, that growth has been at the expense of adequate and fair investment in the 50% of young people who leave education at 18 and then want to study to higher levels later.

Their opportunities have been hampered because of the lack of attention, leading to fewer chances, less funding and a lack of support for them to learn while working.”

Mr Carberry added: “Closing the gap in provision that has traditionally existed between further education and higher education has long been a business goal, but it would be wrong to pit higher education against further education; any reforms should encourage co-operation between the two.”

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