Report calls for boost to kudos and funding
The difference in funding between schools and colleges should be reduced, says the final review report, published this week. "The FE sector, despite its crucial role in giving a second chance to those who have not succeeded earlier, rarely gets due recognition or (in England) equitable funding," it says.
The report criticises the large number of different providers involved in 14-19 education, saying this creates confusion. It is also heavily critical of the presumption that any school that wants a sixth form should be allowed to set one up.
"Policy has encouraged institutional complexity: comprehensive alongside grammar; local community schools alongside academies, specialist and trust schools; school sixth forms alongside sixth form and FE colleges; tertiary alongside 11-18 school systems; all governed and funded differently and often inequitably," it says.
The report calls for the creation of collaborative local learning systems. It says such reorganisation could include development of "federations" or tertiary systems in order to ensure equity and value for money as well as learner choice.
It says performance indicators should be developed specifically for further education to measure and recognise the sector's distinctive aims, and there should be closer links between the qualified teacher status required to teach in schools and FE's qualified teacher learning and skills award.
It also calls for greater respect for the profession, saying teachers should be central to curriculum development, not simply "deliverers".