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Government Watch – Bichard resigns, education business links


Government Watch brings you a monthly round-up of government announcements affecting training and development in the workplace.

28 February: Soon-to-depart Sir Michael Bichard announces the appointment of Lin Homer as a non-executive member of the DfEE board. Mrs Homer is currently Chief Executive of Suffolk County Council and a qualified lawyer.

The DfEE Board meets on a monthly basis to discuss issues relating to the Department's strategy, monitor progress on policies and to encourage the creation a culture of learning within the DfEE.

13 February: Sir Michael Bichard, the DfEE's Permanent Secretary announces his resignation after five years in the post. Bichard said that "the past six years have been the most exciting of my career", and that he had been privileged to "play a part in the reform of the education system from early years to adult learning".

8 February: More money is being made available to support plans to strengthen links between business and education, though the Education Business Links scheme. The funding, for Education Business Links, includes an extra £6 million for 2001-2, bringing the year’s total to £23 million; and £25 million for years 2002-3 and 2003-4 respectively. The links will shortly become the responsibility of the Learning and Skills Council and will provide a single point of contact for schools and businesses interested in working together.

Education and Employment Minister Tessa Blackstone has announced £2.8 million funding over two years for new projects that will open up further opportunities for adult learning within local communities. Money from the fifth round of the Adult and Community Learning Fund has been awarded to 118 organisations to fund local projects, many of which are concerned with developing basic skills.

1 February: Education and Employment Secretary David Blunkett has announced that an increasing number of FE students will be able to apply for extra funding to support them in their studies. Students studying at Colleges which fall into Education Action Zones will be able to apply for Opportunity Bursaries worth £2,000 each if they are going into higher education in September 2001 and have little or no family history of higher education. The government is also making more money available for childcare grants, and help to develop mentoring schemes to aid the transition between school, post 16 education and higher education. A full list of those areas covered is published in the Press Release.

Previous issues
Government Watch January 2001
Government Watch December
Government Watch November
Government Watch October


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