MP calls for student equality;FE Focus

Ngaio Crequer

A Bill promoting access to lifelong learning, and calling for part-time and full-time students to be treated as equals, has been presented to Parliament.

The 10-minute Bill, proposed by Labour MP David Chaytor, has no chance of success but it airs the issue in the House of Commons.

Mr Chaytor praised the Government's commitment to lifelong learning, but warned that the "lion's share" of new money would continue to go to those who have traditionally benefited from investment in post-18 education.

"That is the legacy of the highly selective, highly elitist system we have inherited," he said.

The financing of education is also based on the assumption of full-time study, Mr Chaytor claimed.

"My Bill calls for an end to this discrimination I part-time students are learning in circumstances that are more difficult than if they were able to study full-time."

The second part of the Bill is concerned with vocational training which Mr Chaytor said has been a "shambles" for 20 years.

"We abolished the old apprenticeship system and have had to reinvent it under the name of Modern Apprenticeships," he said.

He called for a scheme of paid educational leave for employees to be targeted at those families with no tradition of education beyond school age and at workers who could not help their children because they lacked basic skills.

"For many millions of people it isn't a question of being the first in a thousand generations to go to university; it's simply being the first in a thousand generations to get a few days' training a year."

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