Insidious policy

3rd February 2006 at 00:00
Agony Uncleanswers your questions

I sense something insidious and contradictory in the Government's over-funding of 16-19 education and under-funding of everyone else. It seems to say that 16 to 19-year-olds are more important. Isn't this discrimination? Take, for example, a college that provides for those with cerebral palsy and is under-funded and turning people away. Result: charities such as Scope are left to find the extra money and rely on public goodwill. When I am faced with yet another class of disruptive young people on whom the economy is apparently relying, I wonder what ministers envisage. I read somewhere that half a million adults are expected to be lost to further education in the next 10 years, while raising adults'

skills is vital to the nation's economic well-being. It seems the Government is backing the wrong horse and I'm wasting my time.

The Government may be putting all its eggs in one basket - whether it is the right one remains to be seen. But it seems that nothing will dissuade ministers from their current path. I was struck by a remark in the same article that I think you must have read - that FE has brought huge benefits to those with mental-health problems. Don't these people deserve an education as much as anyone else? Along with those people under the umbrella of the National Association of Specialist Colleges, it would seem not. I predict that we will see a re-branding of FE so that no one is under any illusions about what the true agenda now is. And for the educationally shunned I asylums for the 21st century?

Dilemmas should be emailed to Donald Short at

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