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Co-design of a better post-16 education and training system is needed, says AoC

22 February 2024

EPI report

Responding to the Education Policy Institute report on post-16 education outcomes across the UK, David Hughes, Chief Executive of Association of Colleges, said:

“I’m really pleased to see this wealth of useful information and analysis comparing education and training in the four nations. There’s a lot to digest and a lot more to learn from the divergence in policy, funding and systems but as we have learned in the college sector, the fundamentals of learning are the same. At AoC, we are strong advocates of learning across the four nations through our College Alliance and always encourage policy makers to share in that learning.

“The report confirms that the very high level of policy churn has been detrimental to post-16 education and training despite the broad consensus across the political parties of the need for a more coherent, effective post-16 system. We have seen some of this just last week in England, with another change in policy around English and maths funding rules, which is unfair to learners, unfeasible for colleges and implemented without discussion. Whilst stability might be too much to ask for after the general election, we would be hoping for strong engagement between politicians, policy makers and the college staff who will have to implement any changes being proposed. Co-design of a better post-16 education and training system will only come through good analysis and learning from reports like this and deep engagement between the key parties over the long term.

“The report highlights the very important need for better data so that addressing inequalities can be at the forefront of policy making in all four nations. The lack of join-up on data about children, young people and adults as they navigate their way through the education and training systems hinders good understanding of the strengths and weaknesses that policy makers should be focussed on.

“Joined-up thinking and learning across the nations can only be a good thing: there is much that our four nations can learn from each other, and through The College Alliance, AoC is facilitating conversations and collaboration between college leaders and policy makers across England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland.