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Dearing remit to widen

Ministers expect Sir Ron Dearing's inquiry into higher education to widen and propose ways of opening up new pathways to further and adult education.

Baroness Blackstone, minister for education and employment in the Lords, told a conference organised by the TEC National Council this week she expected Sir Ron to address the Labour party's evidence to the inquiry, which called for these new pathways.

Lady Blackstone made it clear that in considering the Government's response to the final Dearing Committee report, due out next month, "one of the criteria will be the extent to which its recommendations meet that very important aim".

She also expected the call for "instruction in employment skills" for all in HE, first identified by the Robbins Report on HE expansion in 1963, to feature.

Baroness Blackstone said improved links between government, employers and education were vital to economic competitiveness, a theme expanded on by Education and Employment Secretary David Blunkett in a 32-page Business Links special report published with The TES this week.

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