Conservative Party announces education pledges

18 May 2017

The Conservative Party has announced its education and training pledges. In response David Hughes, Chief Executive of the Association of Colleges, said: “The Conservative Party has pledged to increase funding for technical education so that teaching hours will rise by 50% to an average of 900 hours per year. This is a great first step but will only support around 25% of 16 to 19-year-olds and leaves education for the rest of the age group severely underfunded. The plan for a major review of tertiary education funding is the right one. The proposal that Institutes of Technology teach at degree level and employ professors is a change of tack and leaves a risk that education provision at Level 4 and 5 will not get the attention it needs. The renewed commitments towards the apprenticeship levy and an expansion target are good and the plan for a national retraining scheme supported by the levy has merit but must not result in employers reducing their own training spending. The target to cut net migration means that a post-Brexit UK will need to be more self-sufficient in skills. This requires investment to engage more adults and help young people go further in developing the skills needed in the labour market. We need a new culture of lifelong learning in the UK in which every young person and adult has opportunities to learn throughout their lives. Colleges are vital in helping to deliver that new culture."