Call for new body to oversee skills and education policy

A lack of research means it is 'impossible' to judge whether further education policy has been effective, says report

Tes Reporter

A new independent body should be set up to judge whether education and skills policy has been effective, says City and Guilds Group

A new independent body should be created to oversee the development of skills and education policy in the UK, a new report suggests.

The City and Guilds Group said the move was needed because policies were being created without any clear measures of their success or any identified business case.

It was impossible to tell if the millions of pounds being spent on new initiatives such as T levels, the National Retraining Scheme or the apprenticeship standards were making a difference, says the latest Sense and Instability report.

Opinion: 'Skills policy needs stability and consensus'

Research: FE policy 'too complex and changeable'

Investigation: More than 70 school sixth forms closing as cuts bite

'Little or no evidence' on skills policy

The report says that 70 different ministers have had responsibility for skills policy in the past three and half decades, compared with 20 for schools policy and 21 for higher education in the same period.

Chris Jones, chief executive of City & Guilds Group, said: "At a time of continuing uncertainty, it is more important than ever for the government to introduce firm measures of success when it comes to education policy.

"While there is undoubtedly some effective policy in place, it is deeply concerning to see this developed in a vacuum, with little or no evidence to support it, no clear idea of its expected value for money and no concrete understanding of its impact.

"It is simply impossible to judge whether policy has been effective."

T levels and National Retraining Scheme

Apprenticeships and skills minister Anne Milton said: "As the City and Guilds Group report recognises, T levels and the National Retraining Service are brand new initiatives so we will make sure we get them right.

"Right from the start, we worked with and consulted employers and stakeholders to make sure that these initiatives benefit all students, employers get the skilled workforce they need and the economy benefits as well.

"We will continue that work as we progress and refine the initiatives where needed."

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