On 8th December 2017 the Archbishop of Canterbury, Most Revd and Rt Hon Justin Welby, led a debate in the House of Lords, ‘That the House takes note of the role of education in building a flourishing and skilled society.’ The Bishop of Oxford, Rt Revd Steven Croft, spoke in the debate and his speech is below. The Archbishop’s opening and closing speeches can be seen here.
The Lord Bishop of Oxford: My Lords, like other speakers, I am grateful to the most reverend Primate the Archbishop of Canterbury for his leadership in this debate and in much else.
I speak this afternoon from three perspectives: as the bishop of a diocese with more than 280 church schools, both primary and secondary, and that number is rising; as a member of your Lordships’ Select Committee on artificial intelligence, which has been a fascinating enterprise; and as a grandfather with three, as yet unsuspecting, grandsons who will enter the education system in the next year or so. The eldest is two and a half and the youngest is just three months. Those grandsons will grow up in a different world. They will probably never drive or own cars; they will interact with screens and machines from an early age, something which is already happening; they will need to know how to set boundaries around their online lives; and their working life and their leisure will be more different from mine than my own is from my grandfather’s. Continue reading “Education debate: Bishop of Oxford says digital technology learning should be in ethics as well as skills”
On November 27th 2017 Lord Watson of Invergowrie led a debate in the House of Lords “To move that this House takes note of the case for a comprehensive strategy for life-long learning and adult re-skilling in response to the challenges of technology, productivity, and the changing nature of work.” The Bishop of Worcester, Rt Revd John Inge, spoke in the debate:
The Lord Bishop of Worcester: My Lords, I echo the thanks expressed to the noble Lord, Lord Watson, for securing this debate. It is clearly essential for the prosperity of our nation that lifelong learning is made a priority. Following cuts in the recent past, the Budget offered some welcome additional funding, including new funding for training in digital skills and construction, and the announcement of a retraining scheme for adults. The industrial strategy published today is a welcome step forward. Continue reading “Bishop of Worcester – lifelong learning should be as much about virtue and character as the acquisition of skills”
On 1st February 2017, the House of Lords debated the Government’s Technical and Further Education Bill at its Second Reading. The Bishop of Norwich, Rt Revd, Graham James welcomed its proposals.
The Lord Bishop of Norwich: My Lords, I am glad to add my voice to the chorus of welcome for the Bill—on these Benches we are professionally interested in choruses.
Those who read the City & Guilds report Sense & Instability, which was published just over a couple of years ago, will remember the bleak picture painted there of three decades of skills and employment policy. The authors pointed out—with a degree of sardonic humour, I think—that, in 30 years, there have been 13 major Acts of Parliament dealing with these issues, enough reports to fill a medium-sized bookcase, no fewer than 61 Ministers and 10 occasions when skills and employment have shifted between government departments. “Tinkering”, “amnesia” and “disruption” were among the milder terms employed in that very powerful report. Continue reading “Bishop of Norwich welcomes Technical and Further Education Bill”
On 29th June 2016 Baroness Quin asked Her Majesty’s Government “in the light of the increased use of zero-hours employment contracts nationally and regionally, what assessment they have made of the effects of such contracts on an individual’s chances of gaining full-time salaried employment, and on specific sectors, both public and private, of the UK economy.” The Bishop of Derby, Rt Revd Alastair Redfern, spoke in the debate.
The Lord Bishop of Derby: My Lords, I, too, thank the noble Baroness, Lady Quin, for introducing this important event. It does feel lonely over here, and I hope you will not think that I am the Opposition.
I have become interested in this issue in part because of my work on modern slavery. I name that, alongside this issue, because we are in a perfect storm that is making slavery and zero-hours contracts increasing phenomena in our society. We have heard about this perfect storm: this tightness in margins and the shifting of risk; the desire for flexibility; the fact that people are so mobile they do not develop a strong relationship with any employer anyway; and the fact that, as the noble Lord, Lord Monks, and the noble Baroness, Lady Dean, said, economic inequality is increasing so much that people are desperate for work. Then migration, and especially illegal migration, adds another degree of desperation. There is a market to be exploited, both through slavery and through the unscrupulous use of zero-hours contracts, although we know these do suit some people. Continue reading “Bishop of Derby asks Government about pastoral care and training for those on zero-hour contracts”
On Thursday 23rd October 2014, the House of Lords debated a motion in the name of Lord Monks, “that this House takes note of the case for improved alternatives for young people not attending university.” The Bishop of Coventry, Rt Rev Christopher Cocksworth, made a speech, which focused on examples of FE and apprenticeships in his diocese.
The Lord Bishop of Coventry: My Lords, I join others in thanking the noble Lord, Lord Monks, for leading this timely debate, in which I have learnt a lot. Perhaps I may speak rather anecdotally, and from where I come—Coventry. It is a city with two universities, both of which have an extraordinarily impressive history in relating to local businesses and developing qualifications, teaching and research that serve the world of work. The local economy of Coventry would have been in great difficulty in recent years without the excellent and genuinely multilayered provision from Coventry University and Warwick University, and I join the noble Lord, Lord Baker, in his congratulations and deep appreciation to the noble Lord, Lord Bhattacharyya, for his work in this area. Continue reading “Bishop of Coventry speech on apprenticeships and further education”
The Bishop of Chester, the Rt Revd Peter Forster responded to the Government statement on a new vocational qualifications reform plan. The Bishop welcomed the need to reform vocational education and expressed a concern that continued narrowing of curricula, he also urged the Government to ensure the soft skills needed by employers were also valued.
The Lord Bishop of Chester: My Lords, I warmly welcome the Statement in its intention. Clearly there needs to be a greater focus on vocational qualifications in FE but the danger is that the move towards focusing ends up with narrowness. I think that was the concern expressed by the noble Lord, Lord Young, in his response. Indeed, we just heard of the need to learn about life as well as a particular skill. Continue reading “Vocational Education: Bishop of Chester Responds to Government Announcement”