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Students, not skills, are No 1

You fail to grasp the essence of Ray Dowd's report into the agenda for change. Our reform programme has been a major success and has in no way neglected students.

On the contrary, the agenda for change has championed quality, efficiency and investment, providing an environment in which students can flourish.

FE colleges now have the highest ever success rates, at 77 per cent, and more and more young people are staying on in education and getting qualifications. This year alone, FE has beaten three skills targets set for us by Government and we are well on the way to meeting the skills challenges identified by the Leitch review.

We have launched the new Train to Gain service for employers and are working to drive further improvement across the FE system by introducing new approaches, such as the Framework for Excellence.

Never before has FE had the reputation that it does today, and this is in large part due to the excellent work of the agenda for change programme.

Mark Haysom chief executive of the Learning and Skills Council, Coventry

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