New reforms announced for post-16 education

Charles
Clarke, secretary of state for education and skills, has outlined new reforms
for post-16 education and training.

Government
plans will aim to reduce bureaucracy, empower the front line, and build closer
relationships between education and employers.

Speaking
at the annual conference of the Learning and Skills Development Agency (LSDA),
Clarke said that a stronger, more autonomous learning and skills sector must be
developed to respond to the needs of learners and employers.

 “By 2008 we want to see a high-quality,
responsive and demand-led sector, responsible for its own future and its own
self-improvement," he said. "The new vision must be based on trust
and the devolution of responsibility to the front line.”

Key
announcements:


Less bureaucracy and greater self-regulation

A
new inspection model, starting in 2005, will be based much more upon validation
of self-assessment, and will be a light touch for those who have demonstrated
their success.


Diversifying the funding base for colleges and other providers

The
Learning and Skills Council (LSC) will be asked to take forward a consultation
process this summer on how to maximise funding in the sector.


Streamlining the quality improvement system

The
Government has invited the LSDA to work with the Department for Education and
Skills to establish “a national strategic body to drive forward quality
improvement and to bring together the commissioning and quality-assuring
activity currently dispersed across several bodies”.

By Michael Millar

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