Government offers £43m carrot to improve learning and skills

The
Education and Skills Secretary has announced a new strategy to transform the
learning and skills sector.

Speaking
at the Learning and Skills Development Agency’s annual conference, Estelle
Morris praised the overall excellence of provision but highlighted a lack of
clear mission and wide-ranging quality among learning providers.

The
strategy includes plans to review post-16 learning provision to pave the way
for wider choice for learners and better training for local businesses. Under
the proposals there will be an extension of proven teaching methods based on
evidence of what works and an overhaul of weak curriculum areas.

There
will also a major programme of training and professional development for
teachers, support staff and workplace supervisors. In particular the Learning
and Skills Standards Fund will be extended to pay for qualifications and
professional development for staff with non-teaching roles such as technicians.

The
strategy, which is being supported this year by one-off funding of £43m, will
set new targets for each college and training provider alongside minimum levels
of performance to improve accountability. Providers which deliver will have
increased freedom to innovate and expand but where failure occurs there will be
intervention to end funding if targets are not met.

Morris,
said: "We have some world class colleges which we should not hesitate to
celebrate. There is not enough good quality overall and standards are not as
high as learners deserve. I want to see an end to the drift and lack of mission
in further education and training."

By Ben Willmott

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