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Welfare Reform on the Web (September 1999): Education - UK - Training

DEEP and wide

Baroness Blackstone
Education and Training Review, vol. 1, Summer 1999, p. 11-12

Describes the government's reforms of post-16 education which can be broken down into the following five elements:

  • introduction of a new advanced subsidiary (AS) qualification;
  • reform of A level syllabuses so that they will normally be made up of six units offering candidates the choice of end-of-course or modular assessment;
  • development of 'world class tests' for the very able;
  • upgrade of the general national vocational qualifications;
  • introduction of a new key skills qualification to encourage all young people to develop essential skills in communication, numeracy and information technology.

EMPLOYERS' perceptions and implementation of S/NVQs in Britain: a critical overview

H. Matlay
International Journal of Training and Development, vol. 3, 1999, p. 132-141

It appears that S/NVQs have failed to significantly improve the skills base of the British economy. The majority of employers are sceptical of their relevance to, and potential impact upon,the sustainable competitiveness of their businesses.

THE EXPERIENCE of incorporation, 1993-95: principals' impressions

B. Withers
Research in Post-compulsory Education, vol. 3, 1998, p. 39-56

Study examined the impact of the Further and Higher Education Act 1992 which separated further education, tertiary and sixth form colleges from the local education authorities, creating a new sector with independent incorporated institutions. Detailed exploration of the reactions of 13 principals to the experience is reported in this article.


R. Boyle
Education and Training Review, vol. 1, Summer 1999, p. 37-38

Focuses on the London TEC Council's response to the government's review of post 16 education. The council's response covers the problems within the current system, the challenges specific to London, and a model for reform.

HELD to account

J. Learman
Education and Training Review, vol. 1, Spring 1999, p. 33-34

Reports the experiences of North West TEC/CCTE in developing and piloting a model for delivery of individual learning accounts.

IMPROVING college effectiveness: frameworks for research and development

B. Somekh and others
College Research, vol. 2, Spring 1999, p. 47-50

Researchers from further and higher education discuss the nature of frameworks that shape the work of colleges. They offer a 'continua chart' that can be used to analyse the various conflicting frameworks. They suggest changes to the dominant FEFC framework that would be likely to lead to improving college effectiveness.

LEARN as you earn

C. A. Carnall
Education and Training Review, vol. 1, Summer 1999, p. 20-21

Argues that while corporate universities are sometimes represented as undermining the traditional university, this threat is in fact not credible as most corporate universities have one or more academic partners. However the corporate university movement is part of a revolution taking place in higher education. The next twenty years are likely to see a change in knowledge delivery systems away from the classroom and towards the workplace and action learning. The emphasis will be on developing skill sets that demonstrably benefit the company.

LEARNING to succeed: a new framework for post-16 learning

Department for Education and Employment
London: TSO, 1999 (Cm 4392)

Proposes the institution of a national Learning and Skills Council to be responsible for the planning, funding and managing of all post-16 further education and training, replacing both the Further Education Funding Council and Training and Enterprise Councils. It would operate through 40-50 local councils. It is also proposed that Ofsted would inspect all courses for 16 to 19 year olds in both schools and colleges. A new agency would become responsible for inspecting post-19 training in colleges, and all work-based provision. An independent advisory service would give students contemplating A-levels or equivalent vocational courses better guidance about what rival institutions offer.

(For comment see Guardian, July 1st 1999, p. 6; Financial Times, July 1st 1999, p. 10)

LESSONS in learning

J. Field
Education and Training Review, vol. 1., Spring 1999, p. 27-28

Assesses the government's progress in introducing lifelong learning through initiatives such as the University for Industry and Individual Learning Accounts.

LOCAL business representation: can we afford TECs and chambers?

A. Coulson
Regional Studies, vol. 33, 1999, p. 269-273

Considers a possible future organisation of local business and training support in the UK. On the training side, proposes a structure to administrate the New Deal based on the Employment Service but reporting regionally. This would take over youth and adult training for the unemployed, removing a large part of the budgets at present associated with TECs. The University for Industry would bring together training providers with groups of employers to modernise the provision of training, and might also act as a channel for training subsidies for employers. Finally Regional Development Agencies would research their local economies and identify skill needs.

NATIONAL body planned for post-16 training

A. Pike
Financial Times, May 28th 1999, p. 14

Reports that the centre piece of the government's plans is the creation of an agency responsible for co-ordinating and funding all post-16 work based training and education in England. These proposals will be set out in detail in a White Paper, to which the government is anxious to secure a positive private sector response. Ministers emphasise their intention to widen business influence throughout the further education and training system.

(See also Independent, May 28th 1999, p. 4; Financial Times, May 27th 1999, p. 10; Personnel Today, May 27th 1999, p. 10)

ON the side of the angels? Open College Networks as a case of co-operation within a competitive environment

P. Martin
Research in Post-Compulsory Education, vol. 3, 1998, p. 57-70

Argues that Open Colleges are essentially predicated on cultural values that emphasise cooperation, sharing and mutuality. This is very much at odds with the ethos of entrepreneurialism and competitiveness which prevails within the environment in which institutions of post-compulsory education must operate. The possible tension between external environment and the essential culture of an open college is considered.

SOCIETY is not built by education alone: alternatives routes to a learning society

S. Gerard and others
Research in Post-compulsory Education, vol. 3, 1998, p. 25-37

An individual's social and family background at birth has a huge impact on their later life. Policy-makers may be well advised to reduce inequalities in society, rather than simply to try to increase the opportunities for everyone to learn. It is more likely that a just society will lead to an increase in participation in lifelong learning than that an increase in educational participation will lead to a just society.

TECHNICAL difficulties

B. Rashleigh
Education and Training Review, vol. 1, Summer 1999, p. 32-33

The Head of the TEC national council argues that these institutions, if reformed, would be in an ideal position to deliver Labour's lifelong learning initiative. Proposals for reform include a single funding stream for colleges of further education, work based training schemes and TECs, and the creation of a national business led skills and learning agency.

TECs to lose government contracts in reform plan

A. Pike
Financial Times, June 7th 1999, p. 8

Training and Enterprise Councils' contracts with the government will cease in March 2001 under far reaching reforms to be announced in a white paper shortly. TECs and their staff will form the basis of new local skills agencies operating beneath a national council that will be responsible for funding all work-based post-16 further education and training.

TRAINING and development in the United Kingdom

J. Goodwin, K. Hills and D. Ashton
International Training and Development, vol. 3, 1999, p. 167-179

The current policy thrust is to utilise the market for the delivery of training, with reliance being placed on both employers and employees to drive the market. The state only intervenes where markets fail, specifically in the case of the unemployed and those suffering discrimination in the labour market. It has, however, recently introduced measures to enable individuals to have more 'say' in the operation of the training market.

UNIFYING the post-16 curriculum

M. Young
College Research, vol. 2, Spring 1999, p. 7-8

Much of the debate on the post-16 curriculum centres on whether it should be based on separate academic and vocational qualifications. Those arguing for a unified curriculum cite:

  • the success of unifying initiatives developed by colleges and schools in England in the 1980s:
  • the Scottish Office decision to introduce a unified system to replace the Scottish National Certificate and Highers from September 1999.

WORKING to rules

P. Ryan
Education and Training Review, vol. 1, Summer 1999, p. 28-29

Argues that the modern apprenticeships programme could be strengthened by:

  • the introduction of a statutory framework to ensure quality;
  • integration of apprenticeship with the education system;
  • mobilisation of employer and employee representatives in support of apprenticeship;
  • differentiation of apprenticeship from other forms of youth employment.
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