Lecturers 'left out' by national council

20th October 2000 at 01:00
Anger as new national body leaves the profession out. Steve Hook reports

LECTURERS have reacted angrily to news that they will not be represented on the national body of the Learning and Skills Council.

The appointments to the council, announced by the Department for Education and Employment, reflect the dominance of people from outside education who were announced as chairs and executive directors of the 47 local LSCs to be established in England.

Paul Mackney, general secretary of the National Association of Teachers in Further and Higher Education, said: "Without impugning the eminence of those selected to serve, we strongly regret the fact that the voice of the practitioner is absent.

"There clearly should be a representative of college staff on the council and as it stands, there is not."

The LSC takes over the role of the Further Education Funding Council and the training functions of the Training and Enterprise Councils from April next year.

The list of National Council members includes names from the business world, unions and the voluntary sector.

Four of the 14 members are currently FE principals, compared with five out of 47 of the executive directors of the local LSCs.

There is no voice for ordinary lecturers on the National Council.

David Blunkett, Education Secretary, said: "They bring with them a wealth of talent from a range of backgrounds and an excellent understanding of the wide agenda facing the LSC.

"Figures from the business community will play a leading role in the council. They will ensure post-16 learning is consumer-driven and that the LSC will find solutions to the education and learning problems business faces today and in the future."

The LSC, created by the Learning and Skills Act, will set the agenda for post-16 learning.

While the balance of membership on local LSCs has led to some concern about the possible erosion of the more academic aspects of FE, Mr Blunkett claims that the national council is also representative of the "ider community".

John Monks, general secretary of the Trades Union Congress, will chair the council's adult learning committee.

Chris Banks, managing director of Coca-Cola Great Britain, will chair the young people's learning committee.

Mr Monks, who has been calling for more workplace development since before the election, believes increased entitlement to training is the key to creating opportunities for unskilled and otherwise disadvantaged people.

Council members will be paid pound;4,000 for around 12 to 14 hours a year, with an extra pound;4,000 for the chairs of each of its committees.

NATFHE says it wants consultative forums to be set up to include staff unions at local level, and equal opportunities sub-committee at national level.

As predicted in FE Focus earlier this month, Vic Seddon, principal of Croydon College, is the 47th and last executive director to be appointed to the local learning and skills councils.

FACES ON THE NEW NATIONAL COUNCIL

Chris Banks, managing director of Coca-Cola Great Britain

Chris Humphries, director general of the British Chamber of Commerce

Imtiaz Farookhi, chief executive of the National House Building Council

Dr DeAnne Julius, of the Bank of England's monetary policy committee

Sir Michael Lickiss, chairman of South West Regional Development Agency

Jane Drabble, former director of education at the BBC

John Monks, general secretary of the Trades Union Congress

Professor Robert Fryer, assistant vice-chancellor of lifelong learning at Southampton University

Leisha Fullick, chief executive of Islington Council

John Merry, deputy leader of Salford City Council

Sir George Sweeney, principal of Knowsley Community College, Merseyside

Helen Edwards, chief executive of the National Association for the Care and Resettlement of Offenders

Alexandra Burslem, vice-chancellor of Manchester Metropolitan University

Lynne Morris, principal of Joseph Chamberlain Sixth Form College, Birmingham


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