WATCH: Kate Green says White Paper has come too late

Speaking in the House of Commons today, Labour's Kate Green called for flexible funding for lifelong learning to be introduced now, not in 2025
21st January 2021, 1:51pm
Kate Parker

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WATCH: Kate Green says White Paper has come too late

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Labour's Kate Green: Skills For Jobs White Paper Has Come Too Late

The government's proposals for further education reform in the Skills for Jobs White Paper have come too late for families, businesses and the country, shadow education secretary Kate Green has said today. 

Responding to education secretary Gavin Williamson in the House of Commons today, Ms Green said that while she supported the expansion of the right to lifelong learning, it only "served to reverse the damage inflicted by years of Conservative governments, which saw learning entitlements caught and replaced with loans, that meant the number of adult learners plummeted".

Watch the video here. 


In full: The Skills for Jobs White Paper proposals

Skills for Jobs White Paper: The FE sector reacts

FE White Paper: Government to 'overhaul' accountability


She added: "The secretary of state said that he wants to see more talented individuals teaching and further education, but the cuts and further education funding over the past 10 years have led to huge cuts in real-terms wages, driving many talented teaching staff from the profession.

"And while I welcome the principle of flexible funding to allow more learners to access the skills they need, the Secretary of State said this won't be in place until 2025, years after those facing the risk of unemployment, right now, could have benefited." 


The FE White Paper: Key proposals 

  • An "overhaul" of the funding and accountability rules, so funding is better targeted at supporting high-quality education and training that meets the needs of employers, and an introduction of new powers to intervene when colleges are failing to deliver good outcomes for the communities they serve.
  • Employers to have a central role in designing almost all technical courses by 2030 "to ensure that the education and training people receive is directly linked to the skills needed for real jobs".
  • Business groups, including chambers of commerce, to work alongside colleges to develop tailored skills plans to meet local training needs, supported by a £65 million strategic development fund to put the plans into action and establish new college business centres to drive innovation and enhanced collaboration with employers.
  • New higher technical qualifications to be introduced in September 2022, which will be supported by government-backed brand and quality work.
  • A change in the law so that from 2025 people can access flexible student finance so they can train and retrain throughout their lives, supported by funding in 2021-22 to test ways to boost access to more modular and flexible learning.
  • A nationwide recruitment campaign to get more talented individuals to teach in further education, and investment in high-quality professional development including a new workforce industry exchange programme. 

Ms Green also called for a "concrete guaranteed, sustainable settlement in the Spending Review this year". 

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