Tag Archives: further education

The speeches that got away: Investing in further education and learning throughout life 

The Education motion at conference stated  “The UK faces a serious skills deficit”. 

That is an understatement. Take for example what happens when young people fail GCSE Maths and English and move on to sixth form or college. 

When I taught at a general FE College, I remember a group of 17year old girls, who aspired to be nurses. I had to spend time, for example, teaching them quadratic equations when they really needed much more time improving their understanding and application of decimals, percentages, and ratio relevant to their career. 

Force-feeding young people to resit GCSE Maths and English which they have just failed and hated is bad education. Statistically, results show it does not work. On average 25% pass; in Maths this year only 20% passed and can we claim that even these have sufficiently improved, with a pass mark around 20 out of 100, so was it relevant to their career? 

This approach can even be dangerous; on more than one occasion in my lifetime a baby has died because the decimal point in a drug prescription was in the wrong place. 

Our party motion makes clear that young people need to develop their Maths and English in a free course that is suited to their needs.  Functional skills qualifications have this year been improved, so there is no excuse. Colleges at the moment are constrained by strict funding rules. We will give colleges the freedom and resources to judge the best way to improve basic skills for everyone at age 16+. 

In this country skills and ‘vocational’ learning have  not been given the attention they need for decades. Note these points. 

First, the department for Education Skills Index, shows since 2012 the contribution of skills to the nation’s productivity declined by 27%. Second, we have now the lowest on record of adults pursuing any form of education. Third, the new T-level courses due to start in September 2020 look like being under-resourced.  Fourth, the new apprenticeships while welcome are failing at the lower levels; companies who pay the levy have reduced their other training provision. 

So, with all these recent failures to deal with the skills deficit, what does Boris Johnson do ?  He removes the post of Skills Minister. 

This follows a period when Michael Gove distorted the whole Education curriculum by his obsession with academic learning and theoretical testing. Under the veneer of improved exam results, many feel the harmful consequences of that and those at the lower end are not catching up.

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19 September 2019 – today’s press releases

Further education funding squeeze set to continue

Responding to today’s report published by the Institute for Fiscal Studies, revealing that further education spending per student remains 7% lower than in 2010 in real terms, Liberal Democrat Shadow Education Secretary Layla Moran MP said:

Further education and sixth-form colleges have been left underfunded and unloved. Today’s report shows that the Conservatives’ one-off handout is far short of what is need to reverse historic cuts. Colleges teach more specialist subjects in smaller classes, so why do we pay them less per pupil than secondary schools?

Liberal Democrats demand better for our young people. That’s why,

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Five bigger problems for young people than tuition fees

I don’t think anyone could deny that young people are getting a raw deal. But every time the conversation turns to young people, the go-to issue is tuition fees.

There are so many issues which have a much greater impact on young people than tuition fees, especially those from low-income backgrounds.

Here are 5 examples:

1. A lower minimum wage

The minimum wage of £7.83 per hour is far too low. But the rate is even lower for Under 25s. For 21-24 year olds it is £7.38, and for 18-20 year olds it is £5.90.

Maybe (at a push) you could justify a lower …

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£18,000 Education Pot – a good idea?

The papers today have been full of Vince Cable’s proposal that all 16-year olds should have access to an £18,000 endowment for education.

Here is an extract from The Sun:

Teenagers should get £18,000 to spend on further education to re-balance inequality between the generations, Sir Vince Cable has said.

The Lib Dem leader today unveiled his plans for an “endowment fund” which would be used for young people to spend throughout their lives.

And from the Daily Telegraph:

A new wealth tax could extract some of the housing value owned by older Brits, which Cable wants to use to give all 18-year olds

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If you thought our stance on tuition fees was controversial… – the case for Lifetime Education

 

Whether you are for or against our actions on tuition fees, we can’t pretend it’s not still an open wound for us. It’s an elephant in the room when talking to non-Lib Dems and when discussed between Lib Dems it leads to a row. The irony is that this all happened whilst higher and further education are in their death throes.

The current model of a child attending school, then choosing whether to enter the workforce until retirement at that point or to take a few years of higher education first, then never attending education for the rest of his/her life, will be archaic.

This week The Daily Mail took a break from bashing immigrants, judges or spinning the “What Can Give You Cancer” wheel and turned its attention on the threat posed by robots “ROBOTS TO STEAL 15M OF YOUR JOBS” their headline roared. Their headline isn’t wrong – whether it’s 15 million, 5 million or one in 11 jobs –many of the jobs humans do today will soon be automated by, for want of a less sci-fi description, “robots”. And, as the limitations of and the cost to produce these robots lowers, the more common they will become. We need to adapt to this.

Over the past 30-40 years the amount of careers available to people who enter the workforce without a higher education has reduced dramatically, with more people being accepted into universities and the ICT revolution of the 1990s seeing many low-skilled jobs move overseas – this, I would argue, has led to the rise of the anger against globalisation amongst the white working class. A generation ago you could leave school, find a decent career – working your way up the ladder until retirement.  This career narrative is now on the endangered list and robots will knock it into extinction.

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Liberal Youth seeks your views on improving further education

LY campaigning in WestonYesterday Nick Clegg made an announcement on Further Education. This is a response from members of Liberal Youth’s working group on Further Education.

Nick Clegg’s announcement yesterday was largely focussed on improving careers advice, severely damaged as a result of the scrapping of Connexions, and giving those who haven’t gone to Higher Education an equal chance to those who have. Nick talked about creating a ‘one stop shop’ website for 16 year olds to help them plan their next move, similar to UCAS but will include information about apprenticeships, …

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Liberal Youth Activate gives the new Liberal Youth leadership a renewed focus on Further Education

liberalyouthI write post Activate, Liberal Youth’s flagship training weekend. This year, it also included policy debates and constitutional amendments – two of which were on Further Education.

Liberal Youth’s leadership on Further Education has improved significantly over the past year, with Freshers Fairs conducted in FE institutions for the first time, as well as training for regional chairs on how to engage with Further Education students in their areas.

I’ve demanded much better from the Liberal Youth Executive for 6 years, arguing that setting our foundations in Further Education would make the …

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LibLink: Tavish Scott says college row marks a turning point for the SNP

Tavish Scott has written a column for the Scotsman criticising the SNP Government for abuse of power and neutering the Holyrood Parliament. His comments come in the wake of a row about the Education Secretary Mike Russell effectively engineered the resignation of the Chairman of Stow College in Glasgow. Kirk Ramsay had been a vociferous critic of Russell’s cuts in the sector.

The story so far:

Ramsay records Russell’s on-the-record remarks at a meeting with about 80 people present at which the Cabinet Secretary was discussing his plans for the Further Education sector. He did so because he suffers from Tinnitus and …

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