Going in for the skill at the Conservative conference

5th October 2018 at 00:00

If FE is the poorly funded, unappreciated middle child of the Department for Education, you wouldn’t have guessed it by the love and attention it was given at the Conservative Party Conference this week.

In particular, Damian Hinds was playing the role of the doting father, saying that the government was determined to treat technical education as being of equal importance as academic education. (Though, obviously, this is not reflected in the government’s attitudes to college teachers’ pay packets; parity of esteem apparently only goes so far.)

And if you missed all the FE love flying around Birmingham, fear not, we’ve rounded up everything you need to know:

The DfE will provide £38 million in capital funding for the first T-level providers. The cash will be available from spring 2019 for providers chosen to deliver the first suite of the flagship new technical qualifications, due to be introduced in 2020.

Twenty-one colleges have been announced as the first to establish maths centres for excellence. The centres will aim to improve the quality of basic maths provision for low-attaining young people over the age of 16, and the chosen colleges are spread across the country to ensure that there is at least one in every region of England.

Boosting adults’ skills levels by investing in vocational education could boost the economy by £21 billion annually by 2026, a new report finds. The independent commission on sustainable learning for life, work, and a changing economy was led by the former chair of the Commons Education Select Committee, Neil Carmichael, who presented their findings at a fringe event.

The chancellor of the exchequer announced £100 million for a National Retraining Scheme as part of a conference speech that put further education and skills at the front of the government’s economic strategy.

Philip Hammond went on to announce a change to levy funding to make it more flexible. Employers will be able to share a quarter of their apprenticeship levy pots with their supply chain.

But the shadow FE and skills minister, Labour MP Graham Marsden, said the announcements were “threadbare window-dressing”, adding: “May’s government is failing tens of thousands of young people who’d benefit from apprenticeships and the employers who would like to take them on.”


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