Guardian Education, May 2nd 2006, p.9
Despite £210m being ring-fenced for “personal community development learning”, reduced adult education funding is probably the cause of a falling number of over-sixties in further education colleges, according to this article. As learning is linked with better health for the elderly according to OECD sources, and is a key part of many departmental strategies for the over-sixties, this revelation is cited as a failure of joined up government.
Department for Education and Skills
London: TSO, 2006 (Cm 6768)
This White Paper emphasises that the role of further education is to equip young people with the vocational skills that they need at the start of their working lives and to ensure that training is focused on the needs of employers. Young learners are to be given priority, with free further education to a first Level 3 qualification being offered to those aged 19-25. In order to pay for this, the proportion of fees paid by post-25 learners will rise to 50%. There will be a new emphasis on specialist colleges and failing colleges could be handed over to the private sector. The White Paper also gives a prominent role to employers with proposals for sector skills agreements to determine priorities for public spending. There will also be employer-led sector skills academies in each major sector of the economy.
(For comment see Public Finance, Apr.21st-27th 2006, p.22-23)