Friday, 27 July 2012

Concessions on FE Loans – Good in Parts

by Mick Fletcher

Although the limited set of concessions announced for those most affected by the loss of grant support in FE and its replacement by loans does not go far enough to meet all the fears of critics it does nevertheless contain good news.  See  The main proposal, to write off any FE loan incurred by Access to HE students if and when they complete a degree, makes good sense and shows that BIS ministers have taken note of their own impact assessment and recent evidence on HE recruitment.  The numbers of adult students entering HEIs has already fallen sharply, almost certainly as a result of the new hikes in fees. 

Monday, 16 July 2012

How FE Colleges tackle unemployment

by Mick Fletcher

It was interesting to see this week that in Scotland at least boosting provision at FE Colleges is accepted as a logical policy response to high levels of unemployment (see ) The 157 Group are urging Whitehall policy makers to catch up and do the same south of the border. As a recent report published by the Group states it makes far more sense to train someone in new skills for the upturn than to pay them to chase jobs that don’t exist. The report can be found at

A major problem facing young adults who want to invest in developing their skills is maintenance; how do you make ends meet while studying at college. 

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

16-24 year olds: A bipolar education and employment system

by Mark Corney

For 16 and 17 year olds, the main goal of our education and employment system is supporting full-time further education rather than creating full-time jobs.

Jobs with apprenticeships, part time education and employer training cater for an ever smaller proportion of 16 to 17 year olds.

The problem is participation in full time education has dipped at 16 and flat-lined at 17. 

Monday, 2 July 2012

Rising Participation: the end of the trend?

by Mick Fletcher

For the last ten years the number of 16 and 17 year olds participating in education and training has risen slowly but surely so that now over 95% of the former and 90% of the latter continue learning in one way or another.  Despite major efforts by successive governments to increase the numbers on apprenticeships the growth has in fact been driven by a growth in full time education; work based learning accounts for fewer than 4% of 16 year olds and 7% of 17 year olds. The statistical first release published at the end of June 2012 however shows that for the first time in a decade the overall numbers at December 2011 show a downturn. Is this the end of a trend?