Lifelong Learning Destroyed
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Wrong Direction

Support for families and children in the early years has been drastically reduced

Research demonstrates that the life chances of children are greatly enhanced if they receive significant support during their early years. Instead of providing this support, the Government has cut back the funding for the valuable and popular SureStart scheme. It is also seeking to force young children into formal lessons much earlier than happens in countries with more successful education systems.

Career and youth services have been cut

Only a small proportion of school children now have access to an expert and properly resourced career service.  Moreover the National Youth Agency has recorded that a whole range of youth services has been greatly reduced.

Craft and technician training has been neglected

Britain trains far too few people to craft and technician level.  Instead of expanding that training, the Government has starved Further Education Colleges of funding and created a large number of low quality apprenticeships which deliver few transferable skills and have little credibility with young people.

Little provision for adults to return to training and education

With increasing longevity and rapidly changing technology, most adults will need to return to training and education several times during their lifetime.  The evidence suggests that learning in later life also improves general wellbeing.  To help people fit periods of study into their busy lives, course delivery needs to become more flexible.  Instead, courses have become rigid and expensive.  There are fewer opportunities for people to take courses on a part-time or intermittent basis: the number of people studying for degrees on a part-time basis is actually falling.

The commercialisation of higher education is very damaging

The Government takes a narrow and commercial view of higher education.  It promotes the establishment of more private Universities which brings the risk of poor standards and financial impropriety. It expects students to pay for their own education and tells them they should choose university courses on the basis of the income which can be earned from a particular degree. The Government has even foolishly suggested that, where future earnings are likely to be low, courses might be shut down.  This would eliminate courses in nursing and social care.

Higher Education policy is elitist

Government pays too much attention to the views of Oxbridge and the Russell Group and often overlooks the needs of other universities.  It should realise that many universities outside the Russell Group are more modern in outlook and work with more diverse student bodies.  These universities also tend to do much better than the Russell Group in promoting equal access and social mobility.

Opportunities for Lifelong Learning are being destroyed