Earlier this week the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Further Education and Lifelong Learning met to discuss the issue of lost learning. This followed the publication of our recent report on this issue which found that a staggering three quarters (77%) of 16 to 18-year-olds are performing below normal expectations.
All Party Parliamentary Groups (APPG’s) are informal groups of parliamentarians from all parties established by backbench MPs. They help these parliamentarians to become better informed about particular policy issues. They have no statutory or formal role but are able to exert some influence on Government. The Association of Colleges provides the Secretariat to the APPG on Further Education and Lifelong Learning.
The purpose of this meeting was to discuss the impact of lost learning on colleges and the 2.2 million students who study in them and to also discuss what the APPG can do to ensure the government acts swiftly to support existing college students and those leaving college and entering the labour market. We were delighted to be joined by the APPG Chair, Peter Aldous MP, one of our Officers Baroness Garden, the Shadow Minister for Apprenticeships and Lifelong Learning, Toby Perkins MP, and Lord Blunkett.
Sally Dicketts CBE, AoC President and CEO of Activate Learning and Alastair Da Costa, Chair of Capital City College Group and Commissioner to the UK Government’s Social Mobility Commission presented to the parliamentarians gathered about the impact and potential consequences of lost learning. The discussion focused on the need to address the AEB claw back decision which will impact college’s ability to deliver catch-up in the months ahead, to give students leaving college a fully funded extra year of study if they need it, and for colleges to be able to access the 16 – 19 Student Pupil Premium.
APPG members were keen to know how they could show support on this issue, and there was cross-party support from parliamentarians in attendance for writing a letter to the Secretary of State for Education and the Chancellor on what actions are needed to mitigate the impact of this lost learning. . We’ll post this letter and the minutes of the meeting soon.
This is an important time with more and more parliamentarians recognising the important role colleges play in meeting the challenges of the future. The APPG has an important role to play in that and we’re always looking to build the membership of the Group so that we have more parliamentarians speaking up for colleges in Parliament. Please do encourage your local MP to join the Group when you’re in contact with them.