Once in a lifetime

We recently saw the publication of the Review of Post-18 Funding, led by Philip Augar.

This was the government’s plan into how it can improve the post-18 Education system, looking at both Higher and Further education.  

We’ve been involved in giving our thoughts to the review panel, and we’re glad to see that some of our recommendations have been carried over into the final report.

So what is the review recommending?

Here are some key highlights, and our thoughts on how these would impact the sector:

The introduction of a single lifelong learning allowance – this is something we’ve pushed strongly for, to give learners opportunities after leaving school, and in their further education career. It would cover tuition loans at Levels 4, 5 and 6 and be available for all adults aged 18 or over, without a publicly funded degree. This review suggested that this should be set, as it is now, as a financial amount equivalent to four years’ fulltime undergraduate degree funding.

Full funding for all adults undertaking a first ‘full’ Level 3 qualification – this is something we’re particularly keen to see within the review as there has been a radical drop in participation levels from adults partaking in studying for Level 3 qualifications since the introduction of Advanced Learning Loans in 2013/14. We know a lot of our providers feel the same way. We want to see this recommendation taken forward, as we’re confident this would lead to a growth in the number of qualifications undertaken by adults.

Full funding for the first ‘full’ Level 2 qualification, for those who are 24 and over, again this is something we’re keen to see happen, as it will open up opportunities for adults to reskill and transition between careers and occupations

The reduction in the core funding rate for 18 year-olds should be reversed – which has long been a concern for us, and this move would allow school leavers equal opportunity to achieve during the period they are required to participate in education or training.

Streamline the number and improve the status of Level 4/5 qualifications, driving the same agenda from the Department for Education to restrict the numbers of qualifications overall. We’d be wary of such a step, as restricting the choices available to learners and providers will only serve to close down, not open up opportunities for progression and learning.

The review has been released at an interesting time. The Chancellor will make the decision on whether to accept any recommendations of the report. Given that we are likely to have a new Chancellor the new Prime Minister is decided upon, we must once again wait to see if the recommendations are accepted. We’re looking forward to continuing to push for recommendations that will improve opportunity and choices for learners and providers.