The Augar review has said “England needs a stronger technical and vocational education system” to improve post-18 study.
The independent panel report to the Review of Post-18 Education and Funding has strongly recommended more funding for FE colleges, better apprenticeships, more technical and professional qualifications and more lifetime learning.
The panel proposes nine recommendations of which only three focus on higher education. In the foreword, Dr Philip Auger wrote: “Post-18 (or ‘tertiary’) education in England is a story of both care and neglect, depending on whether students are amongst the 50% of young people who participate in higher education (HE) or the rest.”
The report, which aims to redress the “disparity” between HE and FE, recommends:
- Better technical qualifications and apprenticeships
- More part-time and later life learning
- More funding for FE
- Rationalisation of HE funding, including cutting tuition fees to £7,500
- Fewer “low value degrees”
- Student loans to be repaid over 40 years, up from 30 years – but lifetime repayments would be capped and begin when students began earning £23,000
What the report says:
Ofsted should play a greater role in their regulation and government should support SMEs to offer work-based learning.
On technical education
More “coherent suite of higher technical and professional qualifications” and more funding for FE colleges. The report advocates allocating an additional £1bn at the 2019 annual spending review.
On social mobility
More lifelong learning is needed to support the 40% of people who, by age 25, have not progressed beyong GCSEs. Maintenance grants would be reintroduced for the poorest undergraduates.
Shift contributions away from taxpayers and on to graduates. It says universities receive “generous and undirected funding” but supply too few graduates in “strategically important sectors”.
On student finance
Loans would no longer be offered for foundation years. The introduction of a single, lifelong learning loan allowance for all adults.
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