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BLUNKETT HERALDS A NEW ERA FOR POST 16 LEARNING

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Reforms to modernise post 16 learning were announced today in the ...
Reforms to modernise post 16 learning were announced today in the

Queens Speech. Proposals for the statute book would transform post 16

education and training, drive up standards, address the skill needs

of business and the community and build a learning society for all.

The legislation would:

- establish a new Learning and Skills Council responsible for the

planning and funding of all post 16 education and training - up to

higher education - in England. Its 47 local councils would have

the flexibility to ensure that local skill and community learning

needs will be met;

- raise standards through a rigorous inspection regime to be

undertaken, jointly where appropriate, by Ofsted and a new Adult

Learning Inspectorate;

- pave the way for the creation of a new youth support service to

encourage and enable young people to stay on in education or

training; and

- establish a new Council for Education and Training for Wales, and

enable the National Assembly to put in place new structures for

post 16 learning.

Education and employment secretary David Blunkett said: 'As we move into the next century, the demands of the information and knowledge based economy place a premium on investment in human capital. We also want to build a civilised and cohesive society in which everyone is able to play their full part.

'We therefore need to create a highly skilled workforce, and nurture

a love of learning. The existing system is inadequate to achieve

this.

'The new legislation would build a new framework around the needs of

learners, rather than the providers of education and training. We

have listened to the views of business, and of representatives of

communities, and the new arrangements make sure that what is on offer

responds to the needs of consumers. The new Learning and Skills Council and inspection regime would also drive up standards across all post 16 learning.

'Waste, duplication and unnecessary competition would be stripped

away - the new arrangements would produce substantial savings of at

least£50m.

'I am encouraged by the support we have had from business for their

central role in the new arrangements. I look forward to working with

business leaders and other key partners as we develop the detail of

the arrangements.'

The new Learning and Skills Council will be operational from April

2001, subject to the necessary passage of legislation. The Council

will have a budget of around£5bn and provide education and training for over 5 million learners.

NOTES

1. The Bill will cover England and Wales. It will provide for the

setting up of the National Council for Education and Training in

Wales, and for other new structures and arrangements for post-16

learning in Wales.

2. The white paper, Learning to Succeed, published on 30 June set

out proposals to replace the Further Education Funding Council and

the training functions of Training and Enterprise Councils, with a

new non departmental public body, the Learning and Skills Council.

The new council would be responsible for funding, planning and

quality-assuring all post 16 learning up to higher education. The

white paper also announced the setting up of a new inspection

regime for post 16 learning. Also issued at the same time as the

white paper was a consultation document on school sixth-form

funding, and a transition plan for post 16 education and training

and the local delivery of the small business service.

3. On 28 October (PN 473/99) David Blunkett announced that

business would have a central role in the proposed new Learning

and Skills Council - the chairs and 40% of the local/national

board members would have recent business experience. He also

announced that there would be 47 local learning and skills

councils; and that the head office of the national Learning and

Skills Council and the Adult Learning Inspectorate would be in

Coventry.

4. Copies of the White Paper Learning to Succeed are available

from the Stationery Office and bookshops - enquiries 0870 6005522.

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