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Welfare Reform on the Web (May 2006): Education - UK - Training

Extending access to learning through technology: Ufi and the learndirect service

Committee of Public Accounts

London: TSO, 2006 (House of Commons papers, session 2005/06; HC706)

The Department for Education and Skills established Ufi Ltd to develop people’s skills and work with employers to increase employees’ capabilities. Ufi operates under a company structure and provides e-learninig services under the brand ‘learndirect’. The services received a total of £930 million in further education funding. This report examines the work of the services and makes recommendation for the future. The Committee recommends among other things that Ufi should develop a strategy for substantially increasing its direct work with employers within the next two years and that it should compile and publish a detailed business plan.

Failing colleges may face private takeover

J. Boone

Financial Times, March 27th 2006, p.4

A white paper on the reform of further education proposes that underperforming colleges could be taken over by private companies. With only 2% of colleges currently judged by Ofsted to be inadequate, the number of candidates for private sector take over is likely to be small.

Free access only for the young

P. Kingston

Education Guardian, April 11th 2006, p.9

The further education white paper aims to raise the age limit for free tuition to 25. “What about the over 25s ?”, the predominant group of subscribers to access courses, asks Kingston. The article gives examples from Thameside college

Further education colleges to focus on employer needs

J. Boone

Financial Times, March 28th 2006, p.2

The White paper on reform of further education proposes that:

  • Greater competition between colleges should be introduced
  • Resources should be focussed on improving the basic skills of young people
  • Adult learners will be expected to pay more for their courses
  • Underperforming colleges will be given 12 months to improve before they face a range of special measures
  • The quality of teaching will be improved by a drive to recruit high flying graduates and experts from around the world.

Further education: raising skills, improving life chances

Department for Education and Skills

London: TSO, 2006 (Cm 6768)

In this White Paper the Government sets out a programme of change in FE leading to a system in which all learners achieve, gaining new knowledge, understanding and skills through stimulating and expert subject teaching. There are six key areas for change: strengthening the focus of the system on a core economic mission, focussing on meeting the needs of learners and employers, improving the quality of teaching and learning, intervention and support to tackle poor quality, reconfiguration of the funding and organisation of the sector, and a new relationship with colleges and other providers, so that they are freed from unnecessary burdens and supported to deliver.

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