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Forums may fill gap for post-14s

Senior advisers on training for work are calling for a single forum to oversee education for all 14 to 24-year-olds in an area, to be run by local authorities and the training and enterprise councils.

The new alliance is expected to be spelt out in a paper from the TEC national council. The council says there has been a weakness in strategic planning since schools introduced local management and colleges became independent.

The leaked document is certain to antagonise FE representatives at the TEC national conference in Birmingham today.

It says: "There is currently no single forum or strategic mechanism which can assess and review the volume, quality and relevance of 14 to 24 provision within a local area or across a region."

Partnerships would produce local plans for all post-14 schools, FE and work-based training after looking at local economic needs.

They would report annually on education and training achievements by 16 to 24-year-olds and be required to endorse school and FE college plans. They would also manage the education business partnerships, employer compacts, teacher placements and student work experience. Careers education and links with FE would also be their responsibility under the plans spelled out in the paper, A Foundation for Working Life: 14-24 Ten Crucial Years.

The paper suggests that work-related learning should be an option for children at the age of 7 and the involvement of employers in the education of pupils from age 12.

Stronger work-related and employer-based options should be available at 14-16 to prevent dropping out. Less time should be devoted to the national curriculum by people deciding to follow these options. "It is important for all young people that, whatever the subjects they study, they are taught in ways which make them relevant to the world of work."

The paper calls for an occupational standards council for teachers and lecturers, with all in further and higher education being required to hold a relevant national vocational qualification at level 4.

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