Sunday, September 06, 2009

Post-16 education changes: things can only get better?

This week’s Public Finance reports that the Learning and Skills Council’s chief executive has warned of something close to chaos as the quango is dismembered – part becoming the Young Peoples’ Learning Agency and part the Skills Funding Agency.

Geoffrey Russell writes in the LSC’s annual report: ‘As the transition progresses over the next year, there are significant risks that the LSC will not be able to meet its objectives, staff morale will be affected and systems of internal control will break down.’

Those of us who have worked with colleges for several years will remember the dislocation caused when the Further Education Funding Council and forty-plus Training and Enterprise Councils were put together less than a decade ago – pulling organisations apart is even more disruptive than putting them together.

The histories of the FEFC, TECs and LSC suggest that the SFA and YPLA will share the same fate.

If the Conservatives enter government next year, the next upheaval may come even sooner. David Cameron’s rhetoric about a bonfire of quangoes chimes with noises from his party about resurrecting the FEFC – re-creating a funding body with a narrower remit than its successors and removing from local authorities their new funding role in 16-18 education.

We’ll have to watch this space.

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