An Education Policy Institute report, produced by Pearson, recommends the government launches “a high-profile national campaign” to promote free English and maths courses for adults wanting to study up to and including GCSE level.
The report was prepared under the guidance of Professor Sir Roy Anderson, alongside an independent advisory group of senior figures. Among several new topics, the report focuses on how best to develop a culture of lifelong learning.
It recommends “a structural change in tertiary education…needed to address these problems” and goes on to suggest that, as the UK leaves the EU, there may be further risks as previous support from the European Social Fund may cease after Brexit.
The report goes on to say the government should develop Functional Skills into a “high quality, relevant and recognised qualification”. The success of which should be measured on “progression rates, employment outcomes and equipping young people with basic skills.” The launch of revised Functional Skills qualifications in 2019 offers an opportunity for improvement on the provision for disengaged learners.
It also highlights that children with special educational needs (SEND) are more likely to experience poverty and less likely to experience a fulfilling educational experience. “Only 24.2 per cent of pupils with an identified SEND achieve an A*-C in Maths and English, compared with 69.7 per cent of others.”
There is an acknowledgment that apprenticeships are at risk of being used to validate existing older workers’ skills, instead of preparing younger people for the world of work. The report recommends that given the dependence of apprentices on the sustainability of their employer’s business for their programme of training, it should ensure learners can move between apprenticeships and classroom-based technical routes. Students should also be monitored on how well they are progressing through apprenticeships and the suitability of this route if they are lacking basic literacy and numeracy.
Read the full report here