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AoC College Leaders General Election 2024 Discussion Series: Adult education and devolution

Venue: Online via Zoom

Date: 1 July 2024

Time: 4:30 PM - 5:45 PM

Fee: Free for AoC members - this is a members only event

This session will be an opportunity to discuss highlighting the importance of adult education for the FE sector, how to influence the need for demand-led adult funding to improve access to learning and how effective devolution can deliver on local skills development.

In our Opportunity England policy paper on adult education, we made the following recommendations:

  • The government should increase funding rates for adult education and provide demand-led funding to reflect inflation and address a decade-long stagnation. (Short term)
  • Funding and administrative processes must be simplified, especially where providers work across different areas, as part of a broader tertiary system. (Short term)
  • Qualifications must be expanded and be part of a coherent offer, and funding models must be adjusted to support adult-specific educational needs. (Medium term)
  • Government subsidies should be implemented for employers in Skills Bootcamps to encourage participation. (Medium term)
  • Tailored careers guidance must be specifically designed for adult learners’ needs. (Medium term)

You can read the full paper here.

In our Opportunity England policy paper on devolution, we made the following recommendations:

  • The government should give colleges the ability to set 30% of qualifications to meet local employer need, with 70% set centrally for the country as a whole. (Short term)
  • MCAs should treat colleges as strategic partners, reduce fragmentation through cross-border agreements, and simplify accountability. (Medium term)
  • The government should develop a national post-16 education and skills strategy that balances national priorities with local needs, firmly siting colleges as anchor institutions. (Medium term)

You can read the full paper here.

Please note, this event is strictly for AoC members only.

The Association of Colleges pre-election discussion series is a programme of webinars for senior college leaders to participate in during the election campaign period with the aim of prioritising influence and focus post-election in areas pertinent to the FE sector. Discussions will be prompted by the 100% Opportunity and Opportunity England policy papers, as well as relevant policy and research papers and will feed into a list of key asks to use in the post-election period and beyond.

The key areas of focus for the webinars are:

  1. Qualification reform (5 June)
  2. Lifelong learning, Higher Technical Qualifications and Technical Excellence colleges (12 June)
  3. The apprenticeship levy (19 June)
  4. Social partnerships as local skills improvement plans (24 June)
  5. Adult education and devolution (1 July)

AoC has been having discussions with the different political parties over recent months on each of these topics and there are decisions which will need to be taken by the next government in these areas. Therefore, there is opportunity to influence what happens next.

Each 75-minute session is standalone, and members can come to as many as they want. David Hughes, Chief Executive, AoC, will start each session with a short presentation on the theme subject to set out some of the evidence, ideas and key policy questions which we want to gather more views on.

There will be a final summative session on Thursday 4 July to finalise AoC recommendations for the sector as a whole to ensure that we can brief and influence governmental thinking at pace, with a clear set of priorities.

The summative session will also feed into the 2030 meeting which meets shortly after the election. Depending on the result of the election and the early signs from new ministers, that group will work with the strategy groups to prioritise further work, through task and finish groups, which we will endeavour to feed into new ministers, advisers and officials.