Lord David Blunkett

Right to Learn Campaign (@right2_learn) Announces Inaugural Conference on May 20 with David Blunkett as Opening Speaker and Panels Looking at Post Covid Roles For Lifelong Learning


Right2Learn (R2L), the lifelong learning campaign group launched in December 2020 has announced David Blunkett, former Education Secretary now in the House of Lords, will be the opening speaker at its inaugural Conference ‘Right2 Learn is Right for Now’ which is this Thursday, 20th May starting at 6pm. The lecture will be given in honour of Bob Fryer (who died in December 2020) a long- time champion of lifelong learning who was instrumental along with David Blunkett and Sir Bernard Crick in the publication of the Learning Age.

Andreas Schleicher, the Director for Education and Skills for the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) and a leading international advocate for lifelong learning will respond to the lecture.

The conference comes at a crucial time with the Government’s Skills Bill being introduced in Parliament this week. As we try to emerge from lockdown and the pandemic but with a sobering legacy of thousands of lost jobs, stalled careers and life-chances it will identify key issues to focus on in the next 12 months. These include maximising initiatives to learn which will up skill and reskill those across all ages, especially from disadvantaged groups and areas. It will also explore the roles of government (both UK and across its nations), local government, mayors, and combined authorities, plus businesses, unions, third, public and private sectors in delivering lifelong learning.

R2L’s founders - Graeme Atherton, Vicky Duckworth, Gordon Marsden and Matt Waddup - in announcing the Conference said:

‘We are delighted Lord Blunkett, who has championed lifelong learning for over two decades, ever since his ground breaking Green Paper ‘The Learning Age’ - at the turn of the Millennium, is opening R2L’s Conference with a lecture entitled ‘The Learning Age revisited a learning strategy for our post-Covid world’.

How to enable HE and FE to work more closely together in delivering lifelong learning strategies will also be discussed. Two of Right to Learn founders, Graeme Atherton and Gordon Marsden, have in a recent article for the Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI) released this week examined the role that HE in particular can play in lifelong learning, cautioning against Government increasing silos and pitching HE and FE against each other.

Panellists taking part in the Right2Learn conference will include:

Kirstie Donnelly (CEO, City & Guilds), John Holford (Professor of Adult Education, University of Nottingham), Lou Mycroft, (JoyHE), Angela Nartey (Policy Officer, UCU), Ann Limb (Founder of the Helena Kennedy Foundation), Simon Parkinson (General Secretary WEA), Ruth Silver (President of the Further Education Trust for Leadership) and Dave Ward (General Secretary CWU).

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