Labour’s new lifelong learning commission will help to inform proposals for its National Education Service, the party’s shadow FE minister has said.
The commission will bring together 14 experts from across education and will be co-chaired by former Labour education secretary Baroness Morris of Yardley and the general secretary of the Communication Workers’ Union, Dave Ward.
In a speech to the EEF (Engineering Employers' Federation) employers' organisation, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn vowed that, if it came to power, the party would ensure "genuine parity" between vocational and academic education.
Shadow FE minister Gordon Marsden said cuts to the adult education budget since 2010 have “decimated” lifelong learning and made it impossible for millions of people to access skills training.
Mr Marsden added: “Because of this government’s policies, we have lost courses and opportunities in colleges, and there were over a million fewer part-time and mature learners in the past eight years.
Transforming adult education
“The work of the commission will play a vital role in Labour's plan to transform the education system, our economy and our society. It will ensure we provide access to education for everyone and the progression central to our National Education Service.”
The commission’s brief is to “devise an inclusive system of adult education to be implemented by the next Labour government that will transform the lives of millions and reskill our economy”. Labour’s proposals are to make lifelong learning “available to everyone, no matter their background, employment status or previous education”.
The commission will also be tasked with making detailed proposals on how to integrate qualifications, introduce a credits system to make qualifications transferable and make it as easy as possible for people to "pick up or pause" their studies at times that work for them.
The commission will be advised by former New Labour special adviser Andy Westwood, who is professor of government practice at the University of Manchester
The panel for the commission
- Estelle Morris and Dave Ward, Communication Workers Union (CWU) (Co-chairs)
- Graeme Atherton, director of the National Education Opportunities Network
- Joyce Black, assistant director for research and development at the Learning and Work Institute
- Amatey Doku, vice president for higher education at the NUS students’ union
- Kirstie Donnelly, managing director at City and Guilds Group
- Vicky Duckworth, professor in education at Edge Hill University
- Alison Fuller, professor in vocational education and work, at University College London (UCL)
- Ewart Keep, director of the centre for skills, knowledge and organisational performance at Oxford University
- Mary Kellett, vice-chancellor of the Open University
- David Latchman, master of Birkbeck, University of London
- Seamus Nevin, chief economist at the EEF (Engineering Employers' Federation)
- Dave Phoenix, vice -hancellor at London South Bank University
- Carole Stott, former chair of the Association of Colleges
- Matt Waddup, national head of policy and campaigns at the University and College Union (UCU)
- Tom Wilson, chair of the University for Industry (UfI) and the former head of Unionlearn