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Learning and Skills Bill is passed


Last Friday saw the passing through parliament of the Learning and Skills Bill. Having received a number of last-minute amendments, the Bill has now received Royal Assent and becomes an Act.

The final provisions of the Act relating to vocational training are summarised as follows:

  • The establishment of a new Learning and Skills Council (LSC) with 47 local arms, to be responsible from April next year for the planning, funding and quality assurance of all post 16 learning and skills delivery in England

  • The National Council for Education and Training for Wales will be established as a seperate council for Wales, with the same responsibilities as the LSC

  • The introduction of Individual Learning Accounts

  • The establishment of the Adult Learning Inspectorate (ALI), which will be responsible for inspection of standards in all work-based and adult learning provision

  • The involvement of OFSTED, the schools inspectorate, in 16-19 learning provision, using an inspection framework shared with the ALI

  • Creating provision for financial support for some distance learners such as those on Open University courses

The Learning and Skills Council will receive directions from the Secretary of State for Education and Employment, together with an annual grant-in-aid, and will be required to produce an annual report. The Act includes provision for TEC employees to transfer to the new LSC councils.

Local education authorities will now be allowed to maintain 16-19 institutions, and FE and HE colleges will be able to collaborate with local schools to educate 14-16 year olds in some areas.

Speaking at the introduction of the Act, Education and Employment Secretary David Blunkett said that "the new Learning and Skills Act gives the first ever statutory entitlement to learning for all 16 to 19 year olds and also for the first time a statutory duty on a public body to promote participation in of the greatest challenges facing the country is to modernise and reform learning and skills delivery and raise the levels of achievement for every age group. In the past, a minority of people obtained the learning and skills they required. For the majority, getting a job at 16 was the order of the day. Those days have long gone."

Full details of the Bill can be found at


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