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Thursday, 25 May 2017


Our regular look at what’s happening in the world of education and in particular the West Midlands.

Current news:

Week ending 26 May 2017

The Party Manifestos

Week ending 19 May saw the launch of the party manifestos for the 2017 General Election.  The three main parties all released their Manifestos for the upcoming General Election with Education and Skills firmly in the spotlight. 

In their manifesto, the Conservative Party pledges:

  • Improving the technical education offer for learners at age 16
  • Reforming the funding, institutional and qualifications frameworks for technical education
  • Replacing 13,000 existing technical qualifications with new T-Levels across 15 vocational areas
  • Increasing the number of teaching hours in 16-18 education and training by up to 50%
  • Including three-month work experience placements as part of all courses for 16-18 year olds
  • Investing in FE colleges to provide world class equipment and facilities
  • Establishing new institutes of technology backed by employers and linked to leading universities.
  • Expansion of Royal Charter status to new institutes of technology
  • Expanding Degree-level Apprenticeships
  • Reviewing tertiary funding and financial support services for learners
  • Creating of 3 million apprenticeships by 2020.
  • Introducing of a UCAS-style portal for young people seeking technical and vocational routes
  • Discounted bus and train travel for apprentices

In their Manifesto, the Labour Party pledges:

  • Bringing 16-18 funding in line with Key Stage 4 baselines and ensuring that the budget is fairly distributed between 6thform colleges and schools
  • Bringing back Educational Maintenance Allowance (EMA) for 16-18 year olds who qualify
  • Replacing Advanced Learner Loans and upfront fees with direct funding to make FE courses free at point of use
  • Extending teacher training support to private training providers
  • Increasing capital investment for colleges delivering t-levels and pre-apprenticeship programmes
  • Maintaining the Apprenticeship Levy
  • Doubling the number of completed Level 3 apprenticeships by 2022
  • Giving employers increased flexibility on how the Levy money is spent
  • Guaranteeing Trade Union representation in the governance structure of the IFA
  • Protecting £440 million funding for apprenticeships for non-Levy paying SME
  • Reversal of cuts to UnionLearn
  • Establishment of a commission on Lifelong Learning tasked with the integration of further and higher education
  • Abolishing tuition fees in England and replacing maintenance loans with grants

In their manifesto, the Liberal Democrat Party pledges:

  • Re-introducing maintenance grants for university students
  • Reviewing higher education finance
  • Widening the participation of universities in schools and colleges
  • Promoting international collaboration between universities
  • Doubling the numbers of businesses hiring apprentices by increasing the scope of apprenticeship subjects
  • Developing National Colleges as centres of vocational excellence
  • Working with the Apprenticeship Advisory Group to increase apprentices from BAME backgrounds
  • Expanding the higher level technical and vocational training offer through more Higher National Diploma, Higher National Certificates and Higher Apprenticeships
  • Ensuring that all Levy monies are spent on training
  • Aiming to meet basic skills needs in literacy, numeracy and digital skills by 2030
  • Creating individual learning accounts to fund mature adults and part-time learning and training for all adults
  • Facilitating an effective and comprehensive system of credit transfer and recognition of prior learning and qualifications across the UK

Get the full manifesto documents here:

ESFA Funding Allocations shock

FE Week reported on 12 May that the Education and Skills Funding Agency has published Levy allocations that wrongly categorise employers as Levy or non-Levy payers

VAT Windfall for Schools and Colleges?

David Wilson, VAT Director of RSM writes in FE Week on 11 May that a ruling by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) could lead to a VAT windfall for schools and colleges. 

Teaching Teenage Boys to be decent young men

Nick Curtis explores young boy’s attitudes to sexting, emotions and feminism through a great-men workshop.

Voter recruitment drive on the campus

The Guardian examines the push as University Campuses become hotbeds of political manoeuvring to secure the significant student vote.  The General Election result could hinge on the voting preferences of the 18-25 age group and university campuses are the new voter recruiting grounds.

And some news you may have missed:

Labour Launches National Education

In a speech given on May 10 at Leeds City Further Education College, Shadow Education Secretary, Angela Raynor launched Labour’s National Education Service.  This is Labour’s flagship “free education for all” policy that looks  to abolish Advanced Learner Loans, reintroduce EMA payments and abolish tuition fees for university students.


With the announcement of the General Election on 8 June, the Government is now in a period of Purdah (from the Persian for veil or curtain) meaning that no new policy announcements can be made until the result of the General Election is officially announced.

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