Bishop of Winchester asks about Government FE and skills strategy

On 5th May 2020 the Bishop of Winchester, Rt Revd Tim Dakin, received a written answer to a question on the Government’s further education and skills strategy:

The Lord Bishop of Winchester: HL3164 To ask Her Majesty’s Government what progress they have made in (1) improving further education, (2) meeting future skills needs, and (3) supporting economic and social recovery, since the publication of their Industrial Strategy: Building a Britain fit for the future White Paper in June 2018.

Baroness Berridge: We have supported further education (FE) colleges through the Restructuring Facility, investing £405 million and enabling significant restructurings to take place across a range of FE colleges to help achieve long-term sustainability and delivery of high quality, sustainable provision.

We have also invested in FE teaching (to date, spending £24 million to help providers prepare for the introduction of T levels) and announced an additional £20 million in FE workforce development to help increase teacher recruitment and retention. We have also committed to invest £1.5 billion in England over the next Parliament to upgrade the college estate.

Through the Industrial Strategy, we have committed an investment of £406 million in education and skills. Since its launch, we have invested over £1 billion in total to support learners throughout their education. We have also announced extra investment of £400 million in 16-19 education in 2020-21, which is an increase of 7% in overall 16-19 funding and the biggest injection of new money in a single year since 2010.

We are also delivering a long-term programme to reform the post-16 skills system to address national and local productivity challenges, ensuring that businesses and individuals have the skills they need to meet the needs of the new economy. These reforms include involving employers in the design of new apprenticeship standards to ensure they are more responsive to their needs. We are also introducing T levels from 2020, with longer teaching hours and substantive industry placements to provide a high quality technical alternative to academic learning. Additionally, the Adult Education Budget will fully fund or co-fund skills provision for eligible adults aged 19 and above from pre-entry to level 3 (including traineeships) to help them gain the skills they need for work, an apprenticeship or further learning. In addition, we are developing a new £3 billion National Skills Fund to upskill workers and prepare for the economy of the future.

These measures will support the 2017 Industrial Strategy, which focuses on strengthening productivity by encouraging innovation, developing high quality jobs, supporting UK businesses and fostering growth throughout the UK to create an economy that works for everyone.

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