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Queen’s Speech includes proposals for post-16 education and training


Following publication of the White Paper 'Learning to Succeed' in July, the Queen announced proposals for new legislation in the speech opening the new session of parliament.

David Blunkett believes that these reforms will modernise all post 16 learning. Proposals for the statute book would transform post 16 education and training, drive up standards, address the skill needs of business and the community and build a learning society for all.

The legislation would:

* establish a new Learning and Skills Council responsible for the planning and funding of all post 16 education and training - up to higher education - in England. Its 47 local Councils would have the flexibility to ensure that local skill and community learning needs will be met;
* raise standards through a rigorous inspection regime to be undertaken, jointly where appropriate, by OFSTED and a new Adult Learning Inspectorate;
* pave the way for the creation of a new youth support service to encourage and enable young people to stay on in education or training; and
* establish a new Council for Education and Training for Wales, and enable the National Assembly to put in place new structures for post 16 learning.

Education and Employment Secretary David Blunkett said:

" As we move into the next century, the demands of the information and knowledge based economy place a premium on investment in human capital. We also want to build a civilised and cohesive society in which everyone is able to play their full part.

" We therefore need to create a highly skilled workforce, and nurture a love of learning. The existing system is inadequate to achieve this.

" The new legislation would build a new framework around the needs of learners, rather than the providers of education and training. We have listened to the views of business, and of representatives of communities, and the new arrangements make sure that what is on offer responds to the needs of consumers. The new Learning and Skills Council and inspection regime would also drive up standards across all post 16 learning.

" Waste, duplication and unnecessary competition would be stripped away - the new arrangements would produce substantial savings of at least £50m.

"I am encouraged by the support we have had from business for their central role in the new arrangements. I look forward to working with business leaders and other key partners as we develop the detail of the arrangements."

The new Learning and Skills Council will be operational from April 2001, subject to the necessary passage of legislation. The Council will have a budget of around £5 billion and provide education and training for over 5 million learners.


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