An Education & Skills Manifesto from Policy Connect

Policy Connect publishes its Education & Skills Manifesto for the General Election 2017. Produced by the organisation’s Education & Skills team, and comprising the expertise of three different independent policy research groups, our groups consist of cross-party parliamentarians and cross-sectoral industry experts.

Based on our work, these should be the priorities in Education & Skills for the new Government:

1.       Review the post-16 GCSE retakes structure.

In light of increasing numbers of young people failing to achieve desired basic subject GCSE grades, the system needs to be changed to account for these young people and ensure they have the opportunity to gain qualifications to demonstrate their ability.

The Skills Commission recommended that ‘for learners who have struggled with the examinations… a “post-16 modular GCSE” should be looked into as its flexibility would be better suited to non-academically inclined young adults and those in work or training.’


2.       Ensure greater alignment between devolution and the Industrial Strategy.

The Skills Commission’s Going Places: Innovation in Further Education & Skills inquiry report calls for devolution funding to be based on an area’s ambition and need:

The report states ‘devolution settlements should be “full” and include additional powers across all areas of skills provision. They should encourage cross local authority and LEP collaboration.’

‘Funding for devolution should be based on an area’s capability and ambition, not solely on population density or the number of large businesses.’


3.       Lifelong learning – joint minister, mid-life career reviews and pilots for older workers.

Create a joint minister for lifelong learning between the Department for Work and Pensions and the Department for Education to help promote strategic ways of developing lifelong learning.

The Skills Commission’s Spotlight on… Lifelong Learning for an Ageing Workforce sets out a range of measures such as the development of mid-life career reviews,  and more targeted support for older workers looking to retrain. The Skills Commission is calling for further pilots to be funded in this area to enable employers, learning providers and professional HR bodies to better support older workers.