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College Leaders Urge Government to Back the Augar Review

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In an unprecedented move, the leaders of every general further education college in England have joined forces to write an open letter to the Chancellor and Secretary of State for Education urging them to “answer the calls from business” and respond to the “challenges of technological change and Brexit” by urgently investing in the country’s technical and vocational education system by implementing the main recommendations of the government’s recent Post-18 Education Review (the Augar Review).

The 203 leaders are responsible for institutions that educate and train 2 million people each year, employing 180,000 staff and they have a combined turnover of £6 billion per annum.

Member of the Independent Panel and co-author of the Augar Review Bev Robinson OBE said, “The government’s response to the outcomes of the well-received Augar Review is arguably a watershed moment for the British government.

“Choosing to enact the recommendations would demonstrate the government’s commitment to the much-needed skills revolution which our country needs, which industry is crying out for and which will promote social equity for all adults, not just the 50% as it is now.”

The Augar Review called for, amongst other things, an end to the 17.5% cut in education funding for 18-year olds, support so that everybody, regardless of age, can achieve to at least level three, and a rebalancing of the traditional post-18 educational landscape.

Exeter College Principal John Laramy was one of the signatories of the letter and he added,

“Exeter College is fully behind the Augar Review and it recommendations.

“The partnership between schools, Exeter College and Exeter University shows what can be achieved when all of education joins together for the benefit of a city or region.

“As a college we believe our country needs world class schools, world class colleges and world class universities – to do this further education urgently needs more investment if it is going be an engine for social mobility and support businesses to improve productivity.”

David Hughes, Chief Executive of the Association of Colleges said, “It is extraordinary to have every leader in every general further education college in the country collaborate like this.

“These college leaders are uniquely placed at the hearts of their communities, working closely with local, national and international business, supporting individuals to get on in life, and driving the social mobility agenda.

“Government needs to listen to them if they’ve got any chance of tackling the major issues this country faces, now and in the future.”

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