No Image Available


Read more from TrainingZone

googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display(‘div-gpt-ad-1705321608055-0’); });

White Paper on Post 16 Learning


A Summary Learning to Succeed a
new framework for post-16 learning

Foreword by the Secretary of State

In the Green Paper The Learning Age we set out our vision of how lifelong learning could enable everyone to fulfil their potential and cope with the challenge of rapid economic and social change.

We face the immediate and immense challenge of equipping individuals, employers and the country to meet the demands of the 21st Century. That is why we have given priority to education with more than £19 billion of extra resources over three years. This priority has been widely supported and the vision of The Learning Age has been welcomed. But many of those who commented on this - and on our subsequent consultations - recommended a bold programme of change in national and local arrangements. They acknowledged the inconsistency and contradictions in present funding and delivery mechanisms. There was widespread support for fundamental change, and in particular for the creation of a single body to oversee national strategies for post-16 learning, the funding to provide the focus needed, and the emphasis on quality to lever up standards.

In March this year, I announced a wide-ranging consultation about the structures for education and training, for people over 16, other than higher education. I undertook to publish proposals in the summer for a new framework. The White Paper Learning to Succeed - a new framework for post-16 learning sets out our proposals and invites comment on a number of issues.

The new arrangements set out in the White Paper will create a framework based on partnership and co-operation between individuals, businesses and communities, as well as institutions. They will encourage coherence, quality and success in meeting targets. They will place the learner at the heart of the policy and process of delivery.

I recognise that these proposals will involve change for many of the organisations and providers involved in delivering post-16 education and training, and the people who work for them. I therefore want to move forward with national and local partners to ensure that during this period of transition we continue to deliver the improvements in performance, in meeting targets, and in opening access, which we have already begun.

Employers and trade unionists, together with representatives of local authorities, voluntary organisations and the wider community, have already made a substantial contribution as members of Training and Enterprise Council boards, in the development of organisations such as learning cities, in the governing bodies of colleges, and as members of the Further Education Funding Council and its Regional Committees. I would like to thank everyone for the contribution they have made, and welcome their further participation in our new structure. I am determined that we build on the best features of what we have at present, whilst seeking to remove the contradictions, conflict and incoherence which currently exists.

T he task ahead is to modernise the framework for post-16 education and training and raise quality. The White Paper sets out our policies to achieve the necessary improvement in performance to meet the challenge ahead. I invite all those involved to work with us, to make this the basis for substantive and lasting change and improvement, for the years ahead.



Our Vision for the new millennium

Our vision is to build a new culture of learning which will underpin national competitiveness and personal prosperity, encourage creativity and innovation and help build a cohesive society. The principles which underpin our vision are those we first set out in our green paper The Learning Age. They were:

investing in learning to benefit everyone;

lifting barriers to learning;

putting people first;

sharing responsibility with employers, employees and the community;

achieving world class standards and value for money;

working together as the key to success.
The National Learning Targets will underpin this commitment. To achieve them, we require significant improvements in participation and attainment, beyond, as much as below age 16.

Why change is necessary
Whilst significant progress has already been made, we are still a long way from achieving our vision of a learning society. Too many people are excluded from the benefits that learning can bring. Aspirations and staying on rates remain too low. The system fails a significant section of the community, often the most vulnerable. People with low skills and poor qualifications are locked in a cycle of disadvantage. We must also make education and training more relevant and accessible to both individuals and employers. And people need better advice and support and more flexible ways of learning. There are also too many providers where quality is not up to scratch and where success rates are therefore very poor.

We have already begun to tackle these problems, but we cannot achieve our vision if we ignore the fundamental weaknesses in the current systems. Mechanisms for planning and funding are complex, inconsistent and confusing. Too many administrative layers means too little money reaches learners and employers. There is insufficient focus on skill needs and a lack of innovation. In addition, the inspection system does not deliver the consistent and co-ordinated approaches necessary to drive forward higher standards and clear accountability.

In drawing up proposals for change, we have been guided by the following principles:

change should promote excellence and participation;

employers should have a substantial stake in shaping post-16 education and training;

systems must be learner driven and responsive to the needs of individuals, businesses and their communities;

equal access to education, training and skills opportunities should be a priority, with equal opportunity in the mainstream of provision;

people should have access to support in the form of good advice and guidance and, where appropriate, financial help; and

accountability, efficiency and probity should be promoted at every level.

The Learning and Skills Council
We propose to establish a Learning and Skills Council for England to drive forward improvements in standards and bring greater coherence and responsiveness. The Council will deliver all post-16 education and training (excluding HE) and assume responsibility for:

funding colleges from the Further Education Funding Council for England;

advising the Government on the National Learning Targets from the National Advisory Council for Education and Training Targets (NACETT);

funding Modern Apprenticeships, National Traineeships and other government funded training and workforce development from Training and Enterprise Councils (TECs) ;

developing, in partnership with local education authorities (LEAs), arrangements for adult and community learning;

providing information, advice and guidance to adults; and

working with the pre-16 education sector to ensure coherence across all 14-19 education.

We propose to establish the new Learning and Skills Council from April 2001. Key features will be:

a system driven by the needs of the learner including the significant involvement of employers. The majority of the Council's members will be users of learning (employers, individuals, local authorities and community representatives);

the Council will be advised by two Committees of the Council: one with direct responsibility for young people; the other with responsibility for adult learners. The Committees will advise the Council and assess the needs of their respective groups in the context of present and future labour market skills, and advise on action and strategies;

the Council will work through a network of up to 50 Local Learning and Skills Councils, which will plan and co-ordinate provision locally and establish clear lines of accountability to the communities they serve. These local Learning and Skills Councils will be arms of the National Council but with sufficient local flexibility and autonomy to allow them to match provision to local needs and meet skill shortages. Their work will be overseen by Boards who - as with the national Council - will have a majority of members who can represent users of learning locally;

local Learning Partnerships will be at the heart of these new arrangements. This will ensure that the system is fully responsive to local partners and community needs. We propose a new role for them in drawing up arrangements for consultative mechanisms through which the voice of individual learners can be heard and fed back to improve the quality of provision;

improved accountability, efficiency and probity.
The Learning and Skills Council will promote equality of opportunity in all it does.

A Framework for Success Beyond 16

We propose to build a new system of planning and funding post 16 education and training that will overcome the complexity of the existing system and cut unnecessary layers of bureaucracy. The new system will simplify arrangements and make it easier for money to get to the learner. It will promote flexibility and customer focused learning, drawing on the experience of the UfI. It will also support equality of opportunity and meet the needs of people who face particular disadvantages in the labour market.

Within these arrangements, it will be essential that the Local Learning and Skills Councils have local flexibility and autonomy in significant areas of their work. By agreement with the national Council, they will have the scope to vary the national funding tariff, for example, in relation to particular local needs and skill shortages. They will also manage local budgets for quality improvement, building capacity in providers, adult and community learning, education business partnerships, Investors in People and other areas where local flexibility is important.

Regional Development Agencies (RDAs) will have a key role in the planning arrangements for learning and skills, with a strong link between the RDAs and the Learning and Skills Council both at national and local level. Local Councils' plans will reflect the needs and priorities of the region set out in the RDA's regional strategy; and RDAs will work with local Councils to assess how well regional skills needs are met.

We will be consulting on the new planning and funding system and the ways in which we can strike the right balance between national arrangements and local flexibility.

We will also establish systems to evaluate the success of the new arrangements. An essential part of the evaluation will be ensuring good quality information about outcomes and their impact at national and local level.

Improving quality
We expect the Learning and Skills Council only to fund learning which meets its quality standards and probity requirements and to take firm action where providers are falling short of these standards. The Learning and Skills Council will be responsible for drawing up a quality improvement strategy. The Council will also reward high quality in education and training provision building on the accredited and Beacon status introduced for FE colleges.

These quality standards need to be supported by new rigorous, independent inspection arrangements. To improve coherence, we will bring together the inspection processes for young people learning in schools and colleges through to the age of 19. OFSTED will be responsible for the inspection of this provision. We want in addition to combine current arrangements to create a new independent Inspectorate which will assess the quality of provision for adults and of all work based training. The new Inspectorate will work closely with OFSTED to ensure a common approach to inspection.

Education and Training of Young People Young people deserve the chance to be better qualified and to have the best possible start to their working lives. We propose to publish shortly a strategy - call Connexions - for making sure that far more young people continue in education and training through their teenage years until they are at least 19. Ensuring young people have the help, support and guidance that will raise their aspirations and tackle problems which stand in the way will be essential. We are introducing - progressively from September - a Learning Gateway for 16 and 17 year olds who need extra guidance and support to benefit from mainstream learning. Central to this will be the development of a network of personal advisers.

We propose to create new arrangements for providing support to young people, based on this concept of personal advisers. Its prime function will be to create a comprehensive structure for advice and support for all young people from the age of 13, improving the coherence of what is currently provided through organisations such as the Careers Service, parts of the Youth Service and a range of other specialist agencies. The new service will present a step change in the way this support is provided to young people, ensuring a smooth transition from compulsory schooling to post-16 learning. The new service will need an innovative, effective and consistent means of local delivery, building on best current practice. It will be organised on the same geographical areas as the local Learning and Skills Councils.

Supporting Adult Learners

The Learning and Skills Council will work with others to champion lifelong learning for all. The Council will have a clear role to play in driving up demand for learning so as to complement the impact of individual learning accounts and the UfI and support the work of NIACE, the Campaign for Learning and broadcasters in promoting learning throughout life. The Learning and Skills Council will work closely with the UfI to improve the overall coherence and responsiveness of education and training provision for adults and embed lifelong learning in people's daily lives. It will have a responsibility for funding high quality information, advice and guidance for adults, working closely with the UfI's Learning Direct national helpline and a national duty to secure adult and community learning provision, to which local authorities will have the duty to contribute.

We also propose a more integrated service for unemployed people, by transferring responsibility for work based learning for adults from TECs to the Employment Service from April 2001, so that it becomes part of a coherent set of programmes, alongside the New Deals and the new ONE service for benefit claimants.

Encouraging Learning Businesses

Businesses need a well motivated and skilled workforce to compete in global markets. Successful employers are those who realise that people are their most important asset - and act on that by investing in their skills and development. The proposals for a Learning and Skills Council at national and local level will give employers unprecedented influence over the education system and promote a better match between demand and supply for skills.

At national level the Learning and Skills Council will build better sources of labour market and skills information, drawing in up to date information on sectoral trends from the National Training Organisations, as a basis for the preparation and publication of a strategy for skills and workforce development and an annual skills assessment for the nation. They will develop new initiatives to improve the opportunities that individuals in the workplace have to acquire skills, drawing on the experience of UfI and trade union initiatives such as 'Bargaining for Skills'. The network of local councils will identify and disseminate best practice in work based training, drawing on initiatives such as the 'People Skills Scoreboard'.

At local level, Learning and Skills Councils will provide a wide range of practical help to individual businesses, for example support in developing effective training plans, advice and support for Investors in People, support for critical skills development and help with recruitment for Modern Apprenticeships and National Traineeships. They will also develop new approaches to collaborative working between employers, for example setting up networks of employers in a particular sector to identify key skill needs for the sector and work with colleges and providers to establish effective supply chain responses and 'preferred supplier arrangements'. Local Learning and Skills Councils will also encourage business to set up 'employee development' schemes, linking them to individual learning accounts to stimulate demand for learning from individuals.

Local Learning and Skills Councils' plans will be developed in conjunction with the new Small Business Service, for example by arranging for the Small Business Service to provide a seamless service to small and medium sized businesses and to integrate skills development with enterprise and business competitiveness.

Transitional arrangements

We recognise that the next two years will be a challenging period for all involved in post-16 learning. Work will need to continue in order to achieve the ambitious targets we have set to increase participation, attainment and the quality of services we offer to young people and adults. Making the necessary changes in structures must not hinder that crucial task. We are therefore publishing at the same time as our White Paper the first draft of a transition plan. This plan will be the basis for detailed discussions with each organisation involved in our proposals.

Next steps

These proposals have benefited from the wide range of responses to our invitation to contribute to our review of post-16 provision. The White Paper sets out proposals for major change. We have invited comments on some specific issues. On others, we have explained that we will publish further discussion papers over the next few months. If we are to ensure that the very significant public investment we make in post-16 learning serves people better, we want to know what you think of our proposals and involve you in developing the solutions.

Consultation - how to respond

We believe that these proposals will modernise and improve the current learning framework. At the same time, we recognise that the reforms we are planning will have an impact on all those who are involved in post-16 learning at national and local levels, including young and adult learners themselves. We want all those involved in, or affected by, post-16 learning to consider and discuss these proposals.

The main issues on which we have invited comment in the White Paper are:-

** Chapter 3: The Learning and Skills Council
What more might we do to ensure coherence between the work of the Learning and Skills Council and pre-16 learning?

Are the proposed responsibilities of the local Learning and Skills Councils the right ones to ensure responsiveness at local level to the needs of local labour markets and communities?

Are the functions described for the Local Learning Partnerships the right ones to build on the momentum already generated?

How can the local Learning Partnerships best work with and support the local Learning and Skills Councils?

What more can we do to ensure accountability at local and national level?
*Chapter 4: A Framework for Success Beyond 16

Is there more we should do to ensure that we strike the right balance between national arrangements and local flexibility and discretion?

How can we ensure that the arrangements ensure integration of all the funding available within the area?

How can we ensure that the planning and funding systems support people with special needs?

Are these the right set of critical success factors against which to evaluate the new arrangements?

How can we ensure that the Learning and Skills Council and its local arms develop effective links with its partners at national, regional and local level?
*Chapter 5 - Improving quality

What more should we do to ensure we drive up quality in post-16 provision?
*Chapter 6 - Education and Training of Young People

We will be announcing shortly the details of our new Connexions strategy and issuing a separate consultation document on our proposals for a new support service for young people.

We are also publishing today a consultation paper on the funding of school sixth forms.
*Chapter 7 - Supporting Adult Learners

In what further ways can the Learning and Skills Council best deliver improvements in adult learning?
What more should we do to ensure we develop coherent provision for unemployed people to gain the skills they need and to tackle the other barriers they face in finding and keeping work?
*Chapter 8 - Encouraging Learning Businesses

Are the measures proposed sufficient to engage business in the new arrangements?

Do you support our proposals for the role of Learning and Skills Council at national and local level in relation to skills and workforce development?
Please let us have your comments by Friday 15 October 1999. You can respond:-

by post to Mike Morley, Post-16 Review Implementation Group, Level 3, Department for Education and Employment, Moorfoot, Sheffield S1 4PQ

by email to

Responses may be made publicly available unless you state in your response that you wish it to remain confidential.
Copies of the White Paper - Learning to Succeed - a new framework for Post-16 Learning (order reference P16LR), can be obtained from:

DfEE Publications
PO Box 5050,
Sherwood Park,
NG15 0DJ.

Tel: 0845 602 2260
Fax: 0845 603 3360

Also published along with the White Paper and available from the above address is a consultation document, 'School Sixth Form Funding: a Consultation Paper' (order reference P16LRCD).

* a draft 'Transition Plan for Post-16 Education and Training and for Local Delivery of Support to Small Firms'. Copies of this document can be obtained from the Internet (see below for further information), or from:

Trevor Tucknutt,
TCSOP Division,
Level 3,
Department for Education and Employment,
S1 4PQ.

Internet access to the White Paper is now available on the World Wide Web, along with the documents listed above. The website address is:

Braille, large print and audio cassette versions of the White Paper are available on request to:

Mike Morley,
Post-16 Review Implementation Group,
Level 3,
Department for Education and Employment,
S1 4PQ.
Or you can email:


* Chapters in the White Paper

1 The references in this paper to TECs cover English TECs only and also cover Chambers of Commerce, Training and Enterprise (CCTEs).


Get the latest from TrainingZone.

Elevate your L&D expertise by subscribing to TrainingZone’s newsletter! Get curated insights, premium reports, and event updates from industry leaders.


Thank you!