From education to employment

New Freedoms: New Focus

Rob Wye is chief executive of the Learning and Skills Improvement Service

This is a defining week for LSIS. We have published two important new documents for improvement in the sector New Freedoms: New Focus and our Strategic Intentions 2011-14. They are the culmination of extensive consultation and discussion on the possible new futures for us all.

We engaged our Board, the LSIS Council, our many stakeholders and the sector itself in drawing these documents together. I would like to thank all of you who have helped in their development and I do hope that you recognise what they say and that you will be able to use them in your own discussions.

Together the documents provide a platform for future action based on reflection on the sector’s past and current achievements, and a review of the changes both the sector and LSIS have undergone and are yet to go through. They also show how we at LSIS will remain responsive to sector needs as the collective vision for its future role unfolds.

New Freedoms: New Focus offers an analysis to the sector of the world we are in, the state of the sector, the key challenges going forward, and how we should continue to work together across the sector to drive improvement in response to those challenges.

Strategic Intentions takes those challenges and sets out under five strategic platforms the intentions of LSIS in terms of the areas for support and services we will offer over the next few years. The platforms are:

  • accelerating improved teaching, training and learning


  • reinvigorating curriculum design


  • enhancing leadership, governance and management


  • energising improvement through new ways of working, innovation and efficiency


  • supporting the sector to influence the future.

Jointly the publications offer an analysis of the context in which the learning and skills sector is now operating and will enable us to continue our focus on both supporting strategic change and future development as well as on improvement needs.

They will help us to build upon and broaden the next steps in taking forward the messages in the report LSIS commissioned from the 2020 Public Services Hub at the RSA The further education and skills sector in 2020: a social productivity approach – an important independent perspective of our sector’s possible futures. If you have not already done so, please take a look at this report which sets out ways to develop the social productivity of the sector, both in terms of social and economic value.

I want to ensure that our sector’s dialogue on the emerging new agendas we face is as informed and inclusive as possible. We will be holding more regional seminars this autumn, and I will continue my series of visits to meet colleges and other providers to ensure our continuing close working relationship.

I know how busy you all are this time of year. Our services have been refreshed and revised in line with the new LSIS Strategic Intentions and we intend to share them with you shortly, at a time when we hope they are most useful to your future planning.

Rob Wye is chief executive of the Learning and Skills Improvement Service, which aims to accelerate the drive for excellence in the learning and skills sector

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