From education to employment

LSC Welcomes The Tomlinson Report

The Learning and Skills Council (LSC) today welcomes the final report of the Tomlinson Working Group for the reform of 14-19 education.

The LSC says that putting learners’ and employers’ needs at the heart of the education system, with an increased emphasis on personalised learning and a richer choice of vocational and work-related opportunities, supports its key goals to increase rates of participation and achievement and improve skills. Caroline Neville, the LSC’s Director of Learning, welcomed the case for reform. “We will take a leading role in making the Tomlinson proposals, and the whole of 14 -19 reform, a reality and provide our young people with real and relevant learning choices that will meet their needs, employers needs, and the needs of the nation, taking forward a key element of the Skills Strategy.”

She said: “The LSC has strongly supported the vision for reform. We have already made significant advances to improve the quality and scope of the 14-19 phase of education, by developing more flexible approaches to learning and improved guidance for young people in the 14-19 age range.”

The Increased Flexibility Programme has diversified the curriculum and introduced vocational GCSEs and work-related learning, currently being taken by 95,000 young people aged 14-16 and involving 2,000 schools and 300 colleges.

Work-related learning also benefits from the new family of Apprenticeships, which has for the first time introduced Young Apprenticeships to provide a quality vocational route for 14-16 year olds. One thousand pupils and over 100 schools and providers are already involved early on in this initiative.

Right across the 14-19 phase, we are seeing greatly increased and very welcome collaboration between schools, colleges and work based learning providers. There is also much more involvement by young people and, crucially, by employers, in deciding what courses are needed, and offered, to meet their needs.

The LSC’s successful Centres of Vocational Excellence (CoVE) programme provides opportunities for young people in colleges and work based training providers to develop valuable skills in key employment sectors.

There has also been substantial investment by the LSC in new and improved buildings and equipment towards its vision for ‘world-class teaching in world-class buildings’. Over two years the LSC will have invested in over 300 capital projects worth £1.7 billion.

The Working Group under the chairmanship of Mike Tomlinson was set up by the DfES in Spring 2003 to examine how developments in vocational training, assessment and the qualifications framework can develop a more effective phase of 14-19 learning.

Caroline Neville said the challenge now was to move the reform agenda forward. “The LSC has offered support and advice to Mike Tomlinson throughout the life of the Working Group and we welcome the final report. We need a new qualification framework that reflects these new ways of learning, and that is what Mike Tomlinson is proposing, building on the best of what we have already.”

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