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Joined-up but overtaken

I should like to endorse Ruth Silver's sentiments in her Viewpoint in FE Focus (February 3). I particularly welcome her proposal for the development of a national clearing entitlement and associated standards.

In 1996, the Leicestershire education and training task group, with funding from the Government Office for the East Midlands, carried out research aimed at securing agreement for minimum standards of service to be provided by all suppliers of education and training.

The outcome was a statement of education and training entitlement, known as the "learner entitlement" for short, which contained a set of quality characteristics that could be developed into measurable standards.

Leicestershire Training and Enterprise Council, the local education authority, the City of Leicester and neighbouring Rutland signed up to this statement in November 1996, along with industry stakeholders.

The statement was designed to fit into the education and training task group's own strategy, which was compatible with the then Department for Education and Employment's overall aims and objectives and supported the national targets for education and training. The task group hoped that there would be universal acceptance and implementation of the entitlement statement among all local providers of education and training for learners over 14.

The work had the potential for a genuine evidence-based evaluation of local history that could underpin local strategic planning. Unfortunately, its implementation was overtaken by other events, such as local government reorganisation and the training and enterprise councils being subsumed into the wider role of the LSC.

Maybe such early joined-up thinking was ahead of its time.

Kevin Commons 11 Rosedale Road Wigston, Leicestershire

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