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Funding Body Publishes Report on Successful Growth in FE – Part One, by Paul Keely

The Learning and Skills Council (LSC) have released their Annual Report and Accounts 2004-2005 to show the improved results within the education sector and how they have spent their funding.

For that period of 2004-5, the LSC budget was £9.2 billion. £5.1 billion of it was spent on young people (54.9%) and £3 billion on adults (32.4%). The Learning and Skills Council (LSC) was created under the Learning and Skills Act 2000 “to modernise and simplify arrangements for planning, funding and delivering education and training for over 16’s, except for higher education.” From its national base in Coventry, the LSC receives on average more than £9 billion in public funds a year. Over the past 3 years, the quality of learning and skills provision has benefited from an extra £1.2 billion of investment under the “Success for All” programme.

Strategies and Funding Councils

The National Council is the top tier of the policy and decision-making in the LSC and is responsible for the overall strategy of the organisation. The National Council is supported by the Equality and Diversity Committee, the Adult Learning Committee and the Young Peoples Learning Committee. There are 47 local councils, 750 non-executives and 40% employer representation.

The Report, titled “A Clear Direction”, stated six priorities for the LSC as follows: making learning truly demand-led so that it better meets the needs of employers, young people and adults; ensuring that all 14-19 year olds have access to high quality, relevant learning opportunities; transforming further education so it attracts and stimulates more business investment in training and skills development; strengthening the role of the LSC in economic development so that it can provide the skills needed to help all individuals into jobs; strengthening the LSC’s capacity to work at a regional level effectively; and improving the skills of the workers who are delivering public services.

Pledges and Targets

In March 2005, the Chancellor pledged an extra £350 million for investment in FE buildings between 2008 and 2010. The LSC also committed an extra £38 million to meet the new demand for apprenticeships. At the same time, the demand for the Skills For Life programme (giving adults basic literacy and numeracy) also increased, clearing the target of 750,000 (to 860,000) in 2004.

The Entry to Employment (E2E) scheme helps disengaged young people take part in training. Research that the LSC commissioned in 2003 found that the problem for young people was often not lack of ambition. Many young people simply felt that formal learning was irrelevant to their future success ““ or even got in the way.

In 2004-5, £246.6 million was spent on E2E. £67 million of this was spent on supporting people from disadvantaged groups. This included £46.5 million on Discretionary Support for students and £20.8 million on Education Maintenance Allowance. In 2003/4, there were 1,280,000 young people in education and training, which number rose to 1,298,000 in 2004/5.

Paul Keely

Read Part Two of Paul Keely’s review of the LSC Report right here at FE News!

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