Further education

How I found my vocation: ‘I was told I wasn’t intelligent enough to study’ | Education

I always wanted to study law, but as a teenager I was told I wasn’t smart enough. That put me off for years. I grew up in west London in a working-class, single-parent family. My mother, who was a chauffeur, had my sister when I was 13; it was a difficult birth and she was in intensive care for a long time. She also suffered from postnatal depression, so I spent a lot of time caring for my baby sister…

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Populism has no place in education – so stop bashing Germans and private schools | Laura McInerney | Education

We live in complicated times. Prorogations. Constitutional crises. It is not surprising, therefore, that the government wants to talk to the public about simple things that “make sense”. Unfortunately, the education policies of the two main(ish) political parties may be feeding the anxious political climate. Take the battle cry of the education secretary, Gavin Williamson, who has set a target that vocational education in Britain will “overtake Germany” in the next decade. It is not clear what he means, but…

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Bournville provided a model for further education colleges | Letter | Education

In the 1940s and 50s the Cadbury family’s social experiments at Bournville (Letters, 23 and 28 September) contributed significantly to the later national development of further education for school leavers. The building of Bournville day continuation college was part of the basic plan for Bournville village green, alongside the church and the Carillon bell tower. Young workers, 14- to 18-year-olds, at the Cadbury family’s factory worked for only four days of their five-day week. The fifth day was spent at…

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Education secretary announces plans for vocational training | Education

Vocational and technical training could become more popular than going to university, according to education secretary Gavin Williamson as he prepares to announce £120m in extra funding for a new wave of specialist institutes. Williamson will tell the Conservative party conference on Monday of plans to launch a further eight institutes of technology – a collaboration between further education (FE) colleges, universities and employers to offer higher level technical training – joining the 12 opening this year to rival higher…

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DfE to unveil new category of higher technical qualifications | Education

The education secretary, Damian Hinds, has said he wants to overcome the snobbery of middle-class parents towards studying advanced technical qualifications, as the government unveils a seal of approval designed to improve the status and visibility of such courses. The Department for Education is to announce a new category of higher technical qualifications (HTQs) as a quality assurance mark for courses such as digital engineering, to cut through the profusion of certificates, diplomas and foundation degrees on offer for school-leavers.…

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Public anger over private schools | Letters | Education

The headmaster of Colfe’s School says he would welcome a debate about the role of independent schools within our education system (Letters, 18 June). The debate is simple. As long as rightwing governments continue to close state school playing fields, cut the education budget to below first-world standards and generally make life difficult for state schools, they will flounder. By contrast, the well-funded private schools will provide even more state-of-the-art facilities and more middle-class parents will bankrupt themselves in order…

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Time to stop neglecting education for adults | Letters | Education

Gaby Hinsliff is right (My dad studied late in life. He wouldn’t get the chance now, 1 June). She knows from family experience that mature learning is rich in rewards both professional and personal. The Augar report acknowledges this, making positive recommendations as to how to extend its reach: the reintroduction of maintenance grants is particularly helpful. Welcome as it is, this development merely foreshadows what should be a policy direction for the future. As president of Birkbeck I know…

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Universities hit back after report proposing funding cuts | Education

University leaders said their sector could be pushed into “survival mode” if the funding cuts proposed by a new report into student financing become government policy. The Augar report on post-18 education in England, commissioned by Theresa May, recommended a shift in funding away from universities towards further education (FE) and vocational training, with the report sharply criticising universities for offering too many “low value” courses. The report seeks to make degrees less attractive by increasing student loan repayments by…

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Give worse-off students £3,000 to stay in education, says report | Education

Disadvantaged students in England could receive grants worth £3,000 a year to encourage them to remain in education after leaving school, according to proposals from a government-commissioned report backed by Theresa May. The report into post-age 16 education and funding would, if accepted by a future government, see a shift in funding from universities to further education (FE) and vocational training. Universities would lose income for “low value” courses while their graduates would be making higher student loan repayments until…

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