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Welfare reform on the Web (December 2006): Education - UK - training

All shall have prizes

P. Revell

Public Finance, Oct.6th-12th 2006, p.22-24

The Department for Education and Skills is working towards the creation of a range of specialised diploma courses for 14-19-year-olds which will co-exist with GCSEs and A-levels. These vocational diplomas will cover 14 employment sectors such as engineering, hairdressing, catering, creative media and construction and will be launched between 2008 and 2013. The diplomas will be offered by schools in collaboration with further education colleges with specialised facilities. This article reports on the progress of pilot schemes in Wolverhampton and Knowsley.

Choosing to learn or chosen to learn: the experience of Skills for Life learners

A. O’Grady and C. Atkin

Research in Post-Compulsory Education, vol.11, 2006, p. 277-287

Following the launch of the Skills for Life strategy in England, adults with poor language, literacy and numeracy skills were targeted to attend remedial training. Some target groups, ie the unemployed and welfare benefit claimants, are required to attend training under threat of having their benefits cut if they fail to comply. This paper argues that forcing people to attend training courses as a condition of receiving benefits is unlikely to result in an improvement in their language, literacy and numeracy skills. Whilst attendance at courses can be increased through the use of such sanctions, learners may not engage with the training activities provided.

Colleges ‘fail to deliver skills’


The Daily Telegraph, Nov. 20th 2006, pp.1-2

A report by the Confederation of British Industry accuses the Government of squandering £3bn on colleges that provide ‘dysfunctional’ and ‘irrelevant’ training that is of no use to industry. Despite the number of vocational qualifications rising to nearly 6,000, the report claims that they were “designed by consultants rather than employers, making them of doubtful economic value”. Employers want the government to force colleges to compete with employer provided training by scrapping their ring fenced funding. They also want to be able to design more relevant qualifications.

No pain, no gain? Learning from inspection

A. Jackson and J. Wallis

Research in Post-Compulsory Education, vol.11, 2006, p.251-266

Despite its position as a key mechanism for ensuring accountability to the government and to the public and as a perceived tool for improving standards, the inspection of post-compulsory education in the UK has been under-researched. This paper reports on a small-scale project which investigated reactions to the experience of inspection and re-inspection in work-based learning.

Teaching and Learning National Transformation Programme

L. Browne

Research in Post-Compulsory Education, vol.11, 2006, p.267-276

The Teaching and Learning Transformation Programme for the Learning and Skills Sector consists of three strands: 1) the subject-based teaching and learning resources produced by experts in the field to support practitioners; 2) the establishment of sector-based professional networks which bring staff together to engage with reform; and 3) a professional training programme for nominated subject learning coaches. Initial evidence shows that the programme has brought about improved learner behaviour, satisfaction, retention and success.

Treated like adults: 14-16-year-olds in further education

J. Harkin

Research in Post-Compulsory Education, vol.11, 2006, p.319-339

This paper is based on the findings of a project that investigated the experiences of 14-16-year-old students attending further education colleges from the perspectives of learners, their teachers and the institutions. Results suggested that students’ attitudes to education improved thanks to their feeling that they were being treated as grown ups in college. Pupils perceived that they were being treated with more respect in college. College attendance particularly benefited lower-achieving students who were disaffected from school but welcomed the opportunity to study vocational subjects in a more adult environment.

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