Bishop of Winchester responds to Augar review of post-18 education, proposes public service covenant for vocational graduates

winchester171116On 2nd July 2019 the House of Lords debated a motion “that this House should take note of the Review of Post-18 Education and Funding led by Philip Augar”. The Bishop of Winchester, Rt Revd Tim Dakin, spoke in the debate:

The Lord Bishop of Winchester: My Lords, I thank the Minister for bringing this debate. Similarly, I thank Philip Augar and the independent panel members for the thorough review that they have undertaken. I welcome the publication of this report and the issues it raises. I declare my interests as the lead bishop for further and higher education, and as a governor of the University of Winchester.

I shall comment on three areas. My first point is about ensuring a genuinely rich ecology of higher education providers, and especially the contribution made by smaller and specialist institutions. A local example is the University of Winchester, a member of the Cathedrals Group association of universities, some of which are among the country’s smaller higher education institutions in terms of student numbers. One of the headline recommendations of the review is to lower tuition fees, which will reduce the funding institutions receive unless it is provided from other sources, such as grants for teaching. To enhance a diverse range of universities and secure the quality of provision, it is imperative to have a funding system that enables these institutions to flourish, and not simply larger universities which are generally more able to withstand funding turbulence.

Continue reading “Bishop of Winchester responds to Augar review of post-18 education, proposes public service covenant for vocational graduates”

Bishop of Winchester asks about Further Education funding

On 20th May 2019 Baroness Tyler of Enfield asked the Government “what steps they are taking to ensure that issues of (1) inter- generational fairness, and (2) well-being, are properly considered as part of the forthcoming spending review.” The Bishop of Winchester, Rt Revd Tim Dakin, asked a follow up question on FE funding:

Continue reading “Bishop of Winchester asks about Further Education funding”

Bishop of Portsmouth asks about bureaucracy in new apprenticeship system

On 13th May 2019 Lord Fox asked the Government “how many people are currently registered as undertaking (1) Intermediate, (2) Advanced, (3) Higher, and (4) Degree apprenticeships.” The Bishop of Portsmouth, Rt Revd Christopher Foster, asked a follow up question:

The Lord Bishop of Portsmouth: Is the Minister aware—and, if not, I and perhaps other noble Lords are ready to give examples—of the bureaucratic burdens and delays being experienced? For universities, the added obligation to report to and share data with the Education and Skills Funding Agency, as well as the three usual reports, is exacerbated by an identical reporting requirement for levels 2 and 7, NVQ and postgraduate. The burden seems disproportionate. For large levy-payers, there are unexplained delays in approving new apprenticeship standards. Will the Minister urgently address these to improve take-up? Continue reading “Bishop of Portsmouth asks about bureaucracy in new apprenticeship system”

Education debate: Bishop of Oxford says digital technology learning should be in ethics as well as skills

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”

Bishop of Worcester – lifelong learning should be as much about virtue and character as the acquisition of 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”

Bishop of Norwich welcomes Technical and Further Education Bill

norwich121016bOn 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”

Bishop of Derby asks Government about pastoral care and training for those on zero-hour contracts

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.

Derby 191115cThe 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”