A report published today has branded the Government's planning and funding mechanisms for skills training as incoherent, over-complex and burdensome, whilst also claiming that ministers are not approaching the problem with the urgency it deserves.

The House of Commons Select Committee on Education and Skills has today released its Fourth Report, detailing an intensive analysis of the structures, policies and funding habits currently embedded within the UK's further education system.

Among the many recommendations, the Committee state that Government "spell out" what skills and employability actually include and exclude, whether it extend to all learning or in developing technical and generic skills for particular occupations.

And in response to the National Union of Student's (NUS) frustration at Government failure to properly implement a thorough learner representation network to which they have committed themselves, the Committee urges policy makers to make a clear statement for the future.

Further to the debate over competitive tendering in FE, the Committee have expressed their concern about the practical implications of replacing or putting out to tender areas of failing provision within a college.

There was an understanding about the limited funding available for adult learning. However, the Committee outlined that investment in priorities was having an adverse effect in learning opportunities fundamental to Government policy, concluding that "the dividing line between what is of value, to individuals and to the economy, and what is less so, is nowhere near as clear as is currently implied in government rhetoric".

Furthermore, they recommend that Government should target funding based on more solid and extensive research than is currently available. Yet the Committee remained curiously silent about closing the funding gap between colleges and school sixth forms, citing that "the Government told us that narrowing the gap further was a high priority, and they must demonstrate this by revisiting the remaining funding gap after the next Comprehensive Spending Review has taken place in 2007".

And in a chastising move for the Learning and Skills Council (LSC), the Committee have concluded that the body "has much to prove over the coming years". Continuing: "In particular, the Learning and Skills Council has to respond to criticisms of its tendency to make bureaucratic demands over college recruitment, course validation, and local strategies".

Recommending the implementation of a "National Learning Model" as Government's utmost priority, the Committee cited that early action on this "would send out a clear message that the Government had taken seriously the need to better integrate further education into its wider education strategy".

And furthermore, they conclude that Ministers must take a greater responsibility in "promoting the achievement and potential of the sector". Rejecting plans for a separate Minister for Further Education, the Committee did however, welcome the Government's move to establish a joint LSC/DfES programme board, to oversee implementation of reform.

Concluding, the Committee reported: "The intention is that school and college provision will be better co-ordinated and planned, to enable all young people to access the full range of the new vocational diplomas and an appropriate range of provision at 14-19. It is clear that attention is being paid to policy development in support of this agenda".

"However, inconsistencies remain between the funding and planning arrangements for schools and further education colleges at policy level which translate into paradoxical, and occasionally self-defeating arrangements locally".

Read the full report here.

Vijay Pattni.


Sponsored Video

Register, Login or Login with your Social Media account:


Upcoming FE Events

Advertiser Skyscrapers

Latest Education News

Further Education News

The FE News Channel gives you the latest education news and updates on emerging education strategies and the #FutureofEducation and the #FutureofWork.

Providing trustworthy and positive Further Education news and views since 2003, we are a digital news channel with a mixture of written word articles, podcasts and videos. Our specialisation is providing you with a mixture of the latest education news, our stance is always positive, sector building and sharing different perspectives and views from thought leaders, to provide you with a think tank of new ideas and solutions to bring the education sector together and come up with new innovative solutions and ideas.

FE News publish exclusive peer to peer thought leadership articles from our feature writers, as well as user generated content across our network of over 3000 Newsrooms, offering multiple sources of the latest education news across the Education and Employability sectors.

FE News also broadcast live events, podcasts with leading experts and thought leaders, webinars, video interviews and Further Education news bulletins so you receive the latest developments in Skills News and across the Apprenticeship, Further Education and Employability sectors.

Every week FE News has over 200 articles and new pieces of content per week. We are a news channel providing the latest Further Education News, giving insight from multiple sources on the latest education policy developments, latest strategies, through to our thought leaders who provide blue sky thinking strategy, best practice and innovation to help look into the future developments for education and the future of work.

In Jan 2021, FE News had over 173,000 unique visitors according to Google Analytics and over 200 new pieces of news content every week, from thought leadership articles, to the latest education news via written word, podcasts, video to press releases from across the sector, putting us in the top 2,000 websites in the UK.

We thought it would be helpful to explain how we tier our latest education news content and how you can get involved and understand how you can read the latest daily Further Education news and how we structure our FE Week of content:

Main Features

Our main features are exclusive and are thought leadership articles and blue sky thinking with experts writing peer to peer news articles about the future of education and the future of work. The focus is solution led thought leadership, sharing best practice, innovation and emerging strategy. These are often articles about the future of education and the future of work, they often then create future education news articles. We limit our main features to a maximum of 20 per week, as they are often about new concepts and new thought processes. Our main features are also exclusive articles responding to the latest education news, maybe an insight from an expert into a policy announcement or response to an education think tank report or a white paper.

FE Voices

FE Voices was originally set up as a section on FE News to give a voice back to the sector. As we now have over 3,000 newsrooms and contributors, FE Voices are usually thought leadership articles, they don’t necessarily have to be exclusive, but usually are, they are slightly shorter than Main Features. FE Voices can include more mixed media with the Further Education News articles, such as embedded podcasts and videos. Our sector response articles asking for different comments and opinions to education policy announcements or responding to a report of white paper are usually held in the FE Voices section. If we have a live podcast in an evening or a radio show such as SkillsWorldLive radio show, the next morning we place the FE podcast recording in the FE Voices section.

Sector News

In sector news we have a blend of content from Press Releases, education resources, reports, education research, white papers from a range of contributors. We have a lot of positive education news articles from colleges, awarding organisations and Apprenticeship Training Providers, press releases from DfE to Think Tanks giving the overview of a report, through to helpful resources to help you with delivering education strategies to your learners and students.


We have a range of education podcasts on FE News, from hour long full production FE podcasts such as SkillsWorldLive in conjunction with the Federation of Awarding Bodies, to weekly podcasts from experts and thought leaders, providing advice and guidance to leaders. FE News also record podcasts at conferences and events, giving you one on one podcasts with education and skills experts on the latest strategies and developments.

We have over 150 education podcasts on FE News, ranging from EdTech podcasts with experts discussing Education 4.0 and how technology is complimenting and transforming education, to podcasts with experts discussing education research, the future of work, how to develop skills systems for jobs of the future to interviews with the Apprenticeship and Skills Minister.

We record our own exclusive FE News podcasts, work in conjunction with sector partners such as FAB to create weekly podcasts and daily education podcasts, through to working with sector leaders creating exclusive education news podcasts.

Education Video Interviews

FE News have over 700 FE Video interviews and have been recording education video interviews with experts for over 12 years. These are usually vox pop video interviews with experts across education and work, discussing blue sky thinking ideas and views about the future of education and work.


FE News has a free events calendar to check out the latest conferences, webinars and events to keep up to date with the latest education news and strategies.

FE Newsrooms

The FE Newsroom is home to your content if you are a FE News contributor. It also help the audience develop relationship with either you as an individual or your organisation as they can click through and ‘box set’ consume all of your previous thought leadership articles, latest education news press releases, videos and education podcasts.

Do you want to contribute, share your ideas or vision or share a press release?

If you want to write a thought leadership article, share your ideas and vision for the future of education or the future of work, write a press release sharing the latest education news or contribute to a podcast, first of all you need to set up a FE Newsroom login (which is free): once the team have approved your newsroom (all content, newsrooms are all approved by a member of the FE News team- no robots are used in this process!), you can then start adding content (again all articles, videos and podcasts are all approved by the FE News editorial team before they go live on FE News). As all newsrooms and content are approved by the FE News team, there will be a slight delay on the team being able to review and approve content.

 RSS IconRSS Feed Selection Page