John Widdowson, Principal, New College Durham

NCFE and the Campaign for Learning consider the future of post-18 education, in their recent volume of opinion pieces: 'The post-18 review of education and funding: a review of a lifetime' , where John Widdowson's urges Government not to overlook Adult Education:

In the current debate around education and training, one could be forgiven for thinking that the only important issues are those affecting full-time students, whether studying post-16 in a school or college or following on directly from that to study full-time at a university for an Honours degree.

Indeed, much has been made of the apparent success in reducing the number of young people who become NEET at 16 and (modestly) increasing the proportion of students attending university who come from a ‘widening participation’ background.

Despite this, there are increasing concerns that the apparently generous financial climate created for higher education will become unaffordable by both the state and the individuals encouraged to commit to high levels of indebtedness.

Leaving aside any assessment of the real impact of these developments - including the continuing dissatisfaction expressed by many employers as to the readiness for work of the products of our full-time higher education system - parttime undergraduate numbers have fallen by more than 50% since 2010, with no sign that the trend is reversing or even slowing down.

This has been coupled with increasing pressure on the Adult Education Budget (AEB), limiting the opportunities for adults who either missed out on educational opportunities earlier in their lives or need to acquire new skills to maintain their employment, lead more healthy and productive lives in retirement or make a positive contribution to their community.

And whilst the overall AEB has not grown, other developments such as the devolution of these budgets to metropolitan authorities has raised fresh challenges for already stretched providers.

Taken together, this paints a grim picture for anyone who doesn’t succeed the first time round at school, college or university.

As the ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’ gathers pace, the concept of a ‘second chance’ will become redundant as individuals need multiple ‘chances’ to improve their skills and knowledge in a competitive global economy. Indeed, the risks and consequences of leaving any of this to chance are unthinkable.

Positive policy changes are essential and overdue.

Part-time study gives those who missed out on the opportunity to study full time at a younger age, through choice or circumstance, the chance to gain higher level qualifications.

It allows those in employment to acquire the skills and knowledge to gain better jobs or acquire the new skills demanded by increasingly technology-dependent industries as the world of work changes.

Adult education at lower levels is equally essential.

Too many adults are without the skills needed to be successful, either at work or in their community. Improved educational qualifications can be a gateway back into employment for those at the greatest risk of exclusion. Increasing levels of isolation in an ageing population and issues of wellbeing, including mental health, can be changed for the better if people can learn new skills to help themselves and others.

Low levels of education lead to impoverished lives in all senses of the term.

A must do reform: Foster retraining at Level 4-6 through part-time fee loans

The government must recognise that part-time study in higher education is an essential part of the educational landscape and critical to adult reskilling. Fee loans should be made available to enable adults to achieve a second Level 4, 5 or 6 where that second qualification is part of a career plan.

Recommendation 1: Develop a unitised curriculum in higher education

Higher education providers should be encouraged to develop a unitised or modular curriculum within a national credit accumulation framework, with appropriate entry and exit points to encourage a culture of continuous learning with flexibility.

This will allow those uncertain about either their ability or commitment to studying at higher level to make a start without feeling overwhelmed by the financial and time commitment.

Recommendation 2: Strengthen careers advice and guidance for adults

Careers guidance is fragmented and poorly resourced. Employers cannot be expected to give the impartial advice needed for long-term career planning.

Government departments such as Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) are focussed on steering individuals into employment rather than supporting them to build the skills and knowledge for a long-term career.

Advice and guidance for adults should be placed on a sound footing, possibly repurposing the work (and budgets) of DWP to act as the prime resource for individuals looking to improve their qualifications.

Recommendation 3: Introduce means-tested maintenance grants for adults

Means-tested maintenance grants should be made available to adults on lower level and higher level qualifications - across the adult further education and higher education sectors - to support those furthest away from the workplace or similarly distanced from having the skills needed to live an independent and rewarding life.

John Widdowson, Principal, New College Durham

You may also be interested in these articles:

Advertisers

Advertiser Skyscrapers

Video Advert

Newsroom Activity

Dyspraxia Lambeth had a status update on Twitter 1 hour 53 minutes ago

@ERSA_CEO @apprenticelsbu @Edu4sj_lsbu @milton_damian @QLMentoring @EdDavie @NancyDoylePsych @HWLambeth Fears ‘lost… https://t.co/HgFJWeC60R
View Original Tweet

SERC has published a new article: Conal Set for SPARKS Apprentice of the Year Competition 11 hours 54 minutes ago

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 May 2020, FE News had over 120,000 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.

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.

Podcasts

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.

Events

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