White Paper: Learning to Compete (1996)

This White Paper was published in December 1996, when Gillian Shephard was Secretary of State for Education and Employment in John Major's government.

The complete document is presented in this single web page. You can scroll through it or use the following links to go straight to the various chapters:

Summary
1 The government's vision
2 Current performance
3 A new learning entitlement
4 Equipping young people for adult and working life
5 Improving motivation and tackling under-achievement
6 Quality assurance and performance information 16-19
7 Funding
8 A challenge to action
Relevant publications

You can also view this White Paper as an image-only pdf file:

Learning to Compete

Learning to Compete was prepared for the web by Derek Gillard and uploaded on 20 December 2017.


White Paper: Learning to Compete: Education and Training for 14-19 Year Olds (1996)

Cm 3486

London: Her Majesty's Stationery Office 1996
Crown copyright material is reproduced with the permission of the Controller of HMSO and the Queen's Printer for Scotland.


[title page]

LEARNING TO COMPETE:
EDUCATION AND TRAINING FOR
14-19 YEAR OLDS

Presented to Parliament by
the Secretaries of State for Education and Employment and for Wales
by Command of Her Majesty

December 1996

Cm 34868.25


[page 2 (unnumbered)]

FOREWORD

The publication of this first ever White Paper on the education and training of 14- 19 year olds in England is an important event.

The last ten years have seen an impressive advance in the range and quality of the opportunities available to young people and the success they make of them. We have more young people with good qualifications than ever before, and they are increasingly well equipped for employment and for the continuing learning which our economy now requires. Schools now provide a springboard for real choice at 16 and beyond. Sixth forms, colleges, training providers and careers services are ready and able to help young people go further to meet their potential.

The Government's enduring commitment to extending personal choice, empowering young people and their parents, providing more information and demanding higher standards has made this success story possible. This White Paper takes it forward.

It sets out the Government's vision of the education and training world we shall need to meet the demands of the next century, and an exciting and challenging programme of action to take us there. It sharpens our commitment to a more coherent and effective framework for learning in all its forms, full time and part time, academic and vocational, education and training. It establishes a clear entitlement for all 14-19 year olds to high quality learning which helps them make a successful progression into work, whether directly or via Higher Education; encourages further improvement of their skills in the future; and meets employers' needs. It explains what the Government will be doing with its partners to ensure that as many young people as possible make the most of what is available - including those who stumbled at the first attempt.

Successful learning for all, supported by effective partnerships and a readiness to build on good practice wherever it can be found, is at the heart of this action programme. A competitive economy providing lasting prosperity for our citizens demands no less. The White Paper draws on the outcomes of wide ranging debate and consultation over the past year. I am pleased that the new Department for Education and Employment has stimulated and supported much hard thinking in this key area. I am very grateful to all those who have participated so actively, nationally and locally. I look to them now to help us make our common vision a reality.

GILLIAN SHEPHARD


[page 3]

SUMMARY OF KEY POINTS

The Government's vision

  • The Government has an ambitious vision for first class 14-19 learning based on high participation, high attainment and effective progression into further learning and work
  • It is now the norm for young people to choose to continue learning after 16. We must provide them with the information and guidance necessary to improve the quality of their choices and their relevance to the needs of employment
  • Therefore the Government's priorities now are to help young people make better choices in the light of the developing labour market, to improve all 14-19 learning as a preparation for working life, and to tackle under-achievement; thereby driving up attainment to meet the National Targets for Education and Training.
Current performance
  • There have been dramatic improvements in participation, attainment and cost-efficiency in 14-19 learning over the last decade. But the challenge to improve continues.
A new learning entitlement
  • To improve participation and achievement the Government will introduce, progressively from September 1997, a new Learning Credits entitlement for all young people aged 14-21 to career planning and learning opportunities up to Level 3. It is consulting on how to implement these new proposals
  • The Government will introduce from 1998 a Charter for Learning which will explain to young people their Learning Credits entitlement and how best to use it.
Equipping young people for adult and working life
  • From September 1998 all secondary schools will be able to offer Part One GNVQ qualifications to 14-16 year olds
  • The Government will support new innovative approaches to vocational study by 14-16 year olds, which could take place in schools, colleges and the workplace
  • In response to Sir Ron Dearing's recommendations on 16-19 qualifications, work is in hand to:
    • design new A level and AS qualifications due for introduction in September 1998


[page 4]

  • introduce a revised model for all GNVQs, including Part Ones, from September 1998
  • publish improvements to the form and structure of occupational standards and the NVQ model - including a presumption, where employers are content, in favour of external assessment - and complete reviews of all NVQs and SVQs by April 1998 to ensure they are clear, up-to-date, meet industry requirements, and are subject to robust assessment
  • build on the success of Modern Apprenticeships: from September 1997 employers will offer National Traineeships to help 16-19 year olds reach NVQ Level 2 and acquire key skills.
  • Much work is also in hand to ensure that young people acquire key skills as part of their education or training
  • The Government will act to help young people and providers make better use of information about the needs of the labour market when making choices and deciding what to offer, thus improving young people's chances of finding jobs and better meeting employers' skill needs.

    Motivating individual learners

    • Taking forward Sir Ron Dearing's recommendations, from September 1997 the Government will introduce its Relaunch strategy - a new start for young people, drawing together action and innovation by local partnerships to identify disaffected 14-19 year olds and bring them back into learning. These local strategies will include improved access provision post-16 and targets for year-on-year reductions in the numbers of 16 and 17 year olds not in learning.

    Quality assurance and performance information 16-19

    • Common principles have been agreed to underpin the quality assurance of all 16-19 learning
    • The Government is acting to reduce the burdens on providers by removing overlap and duplication of effort by the various bodies involved in quality assurance
    • A new external inspection regime for work-based training providers will be introduced during 1997-98
    • The Government is taking steps to develop greater consistency in the performance information published about 16-19 learning.


    [page 5]

    Funding

    • The Government's expenditure plans for the years 1997-2000 will support the programme of action set out in this White Paper
    • The Government will publish in early 1997 new comparisons of public funding levels across 16-19 education and training nationally, and will conduct new analysis to compare funding between sectors at local level
    • The Government plans to apply to the funding of all 16-19 education and training common funding principles that support good recruitment practices and effective teaching and training, and reward achievement by young people
    • The Government will propose, in consultation with its key partners, changes to funding arrangements in all sectors in line with the common funding principles
    • New funding arrangements will be introduced from 1997-98 for training for young people which are consistent with these principles, and which will reduce bureaucracy for TECs and their providers
    • The Government proposes, in Spring 1997, to invite interested LEAs and the Funding Agency for Schools to develop, test and evaluate new approaches to funding school sixth forms, including arrangements for an element of output-related funding.
    A challenge to action
    • The Government has set out its vision, priorities, and plans for action with its key partners. It has new proposals to help drive towards the National Targets. It challenges young people - and employers and providers - to assess their own performance in key areas and commit themselves to excellence in 14-19 learning.




    [page 6]

    CHAPTER 1: The Government's Vision

    KEY POINTS
    • The Government has an ambitious vision for first class 14-19 learning based on high participation, high attainment and effective progression into further learning and work
    • It is now the norm for young people to choose to continue learning after 16. We must provide them with the information and guidance necessary to improve the quality of their choices and their relevance to the needs of employment
    • Therefore the Government's priorities now are to help young people make better choices in the light of the developing labour market, and to tackle underachievement; thereby driving up attainment to meet the National Targets for Education and Training.

    IMPORTANCE OF 14-19 LEARNING

    1.1 The 21st Century will present us with unprecedented challenges, both social and economic. Through rapidly developing technology, the world is becoming smaller and the pressure on each nation to succeed is becoming ever stronger. If we are to thrive as a society and prosper as a nation, we must ensure that our education system produces not only well-educated and highly skilled young people, but also people who have been developed socially, intellectually and morally.

    1.2 A successful role in the world economy will depend on the skills we can use to meet others' needs. A successful society will depend upon the effective education of young people about the skills they will need to operate as valuable members of that society and the awareness which they will need to bring to the role. Common to both aims is the ability to adapt and respond, quickly and confidently, to rapid change. These are foundation skills which children acquire throughout their school career and which, developed between the ages of 14 and 19, serve to help prepare them for the transition from school to work. This is why, in the Government's view, first class education and training for 1<1-19 year olds are so vitally important.

    1.3 Most young people - and their parents - already recognise the importance of initial education and training. They understand that 14-19 learning is the springboard for adult life, influencing career prospects, the ability to continue learning through life, and the capacity to play an active part in the community and enjoy the full range of what life has to offer.


    [page 7]

    1.4 Employers certainly recognise the need to improve the skills and abilities of young people. The National Targets for Education and Training, launched by the CBI, and revised by the National Advisory Council for Education and Training Targets, are at the heart of the objectives of the Department for Education and Employment (DfEE); and their achievement rests with everyone involved in business, education and training (see Chapter 2). This White Paper discusses the present position and proposals for future improvement in England. In Scotland and Wales similar thinking is under way and the Government's conclusions will be published in due course.

    A SHARED VISION

    1.5 Our system for 14-19 learning has many strengths. Its diversity of providers and qualifications offers a degree of choice and flexibility which few other countries can match, supporting a broad range of provision to meet differing individual needs.

    EDUCATION AND TRAINING FOR 14-19 YEAR OLDs: SOME KEY FACTS

    Compulsory education for 14-16 year olds
    • At the end of 1995 1.2 million 14-16 year olds were studying in the final two years of compulsory education in 5,200 secondary schools
    • In the single year 1995/96 they achieved 4.6 million GCSE passes, of which 2.5 million were at the higher grades A*-C

    Post-compulsory education and training for 16-19 year olds

    • At the end of 1995 1.3 million 16-19 year olds were studying or training in the three years after the end of compulsory education, including:
      • 640,000 in further education, mainly in the 450 further education sector colleges
      • 370,000 in schools, the vast majority of them in the 2,600 school sixth forms
      • 180,000 in Government-supported training with an employer or training provider
      • 110,000 in the first year of higher education
    • In the single year 1995/96 they achieved:
      • 570,000 A level or AS passes
      • 270,000 GCSE passes, of which 140,000 were at the higher grades A*-C
      • around 320,000 vocational qualifications, of which some 90,000 were at Level 3 or above and around 120,000 were at Level 2.

    Notes: numbers are provisional and have been rounded; estimates of vocational qualifications are based on 1994/95 approximate figures; there is some overlap between those in further education and those on Government-supported training.


    [page 8]

    1.6 The creation of the DfEE offers an historic opportunity to make the most of these strengths. The Government has an ambitious vision for 14-19 learning, which it believes is widely shared amongst its key partners. The central features of this vision are high participation, high attainment and effective progression into work and further learning through life.

    1.7 To achieve this shared vision, we must ensure that all 14-19 year olds have the opportunity:

    • to pursue learning which is suitable for their needs, maximises their potential, equips them for working life, and leads to recognised, valued qualifications
    • to manage their own learning, through reviewing and recording personal achievements, setting targets and planning their development, and through informed choices between options based on full information, impartial guidance and fair competition between providers
    • to develop the key skills demanded by employers, such as information technology, communication and teamworking, building on a firm foundation in the basic skills of literacy and numeracy.

    1.8 In order to achieve these objectives, the Government will ensure that all its policies on 14-19 learning promote:

    • informed choices by young people, supported by their parents
    • diversity of provision, capable of meeting the needs of all young people
    • a coherent framework of qualifications, rigorously assessed and providing a sure foundation for further learning throughout life
    • learning which meets employers' needs and equips young people for working life
    • self-governing providers who innovate in response to customer demand and learn from good practice elsewhere
    • local partnerships to maximise the impact of policies and available resources.




    [page 9]

    PRIORITIES FOR ACTlON

    1. 9 The Government has carried out an assessment of the current performance of 14-19 learning (set out in Chapter 2). It is clear that participation and attainment have risen dramatically in recent years. The Government is determined that all 14-19 year olds should be entitled to learning which meets their needs, and that there should be a better match between education and training and the needs of employment. It has identified four priority areas for action:

    • to drive up attainment to meet the National Targets for Foundation Learning
    • to ensure all young people are able to maximise their potential, particularly by tackling non-participation in learning and by ensuring good standards in basic skills
    • to improve the effectiveness of 14-19 learning in preparing all young people for work and lifetime learning, particularly in terms of key skills
    • to help young people make choices which better reflect their skills and aptitudes and the current and likely future needs of the labour market.






    [page 10]

    CHAPTER 2: Current Performance

    KEY POINTS
    • There have been dramatic improvements in participation, attainment and cost-efficiency in 14-19 learning over the last decade. But the challenge to improve continues.

    RECENT IMPROVEMENTS

    2.1 The last ten years have seen unprecedented progress in the participation and attainment of our 14-19 year olds.

    Compulsory education

    2.2 The Government has taken forward a far-reaching reform programme in schools. Children now have every opportunity to fulfil their potential. In particular:

    • the National Curriculum entitles each child to a common foundation which is broad and balanced, with a focus on basic skills. It enables young people to acquire the knowledge, understanding and skills they need to play their full part in society
    • National Curriculum assessment and testing are contributing to raising standards. All 7, 11 and 14 year olds are assessed in the core subjects of English, mathematics and science. From 1997 14 year olds will also be assessed in the remaining subjects of the National Curriculum. The 1997 tests will place greater emphasis on literacy and numeracy, with new mental arithmetic tests for 11 and 14 year olds and a test of grammar, spelling and punctuation for 14 year olds
    • greater flexibility in the National Curriculum offered to all 14-16 year olds now gives schools more scope to offer pupils options which best match their particular needs and interests
    • the annual publication of school results provides vital measures of how the nation's children and individual schools are performing. It also provides a basis for schools to set their own targets. In March 1997 the Government will publish primary school performance tables to help parents see how successful local schools are and to push up levels of attainment by exerting pressure on schools to do better


    [page 11]

    • the introduction of regular external inspection of schools has enabled standards to be monitored, failings to be identified and remedied, and good practice in teaching and learning promoted
    • the establishment of Grant Maintained and specialist schools has increased choice and diversity throughout secondary schooling.

    2.3 The achievements of young people in our schools are now better than those of any previous generation. This year 86% achieved 5 or more GCSEs at any grade, compared with 74% in 1985.44.5% achieved 5 GCSEs at the higher grades (A*-C) , compared with 27% in 1985.

    Education and training at 16+

    2.4 To build on their GCSE attainments, young people now have increased choice at 16, both of providers and of qualifications. School sixth forms, further education (FE) sector colleges and providers of work-based training are competing to attract young people with the quality and relevance of their provision. New vocational qualifications - NVQs and GNVQs - are offering high standards to complement long-established and successful GCE A levels. All pupils are entitled to further independent advice and guidance from the Careers Service to help them make the right choices at 16+.

    2.5 Partnerships between education, training and business are world-class, as the OECD has recognised. Business-led Training and Enterprise Councils (TECs) now bring a strategic employer voice to education and training at local level to help make provision more responsive to the needs of the local economy. Business is increasingly involved in helping schools and colleges deliver education relevant to employers' needs.


    [page 12]

    2.6 The performance of post-l 6 learning has improved significantly. In 1995:

    • 75% of 16-18 year olds were in some form of structured education or training, up from 56% in 1985
    • 69% of young people gained qualifications at Level 2 by the age of 19, up from 46% in 1985 (Level 2 is 5 higher grade GCSEs, an Intermediate GNVQ, an NVQ2 and equivalents)
    • 45% of young people gained qualifications at Level 3 by the age of 21, up from 27% in 1985 (Level 3 is 2 A levels, an Advanced GNVQ, an NVQ3 and equivalents).

    In 1996 there was the highest pass rate ever for A level entries - 86% - and 29% of all young people achieved 2 or more A level passes up from 15% in 1985.

    2.7 This growth in participation and attainment has been sustained by substantial public funding, currently over 6 billion per annum including supporting benefits and allowances. In recent years there have been major improvements in the cost-effectiveness of this investment, with significant efficiency gains especially in the FE and work-based sectors post-16. This achievement is greatly to the credit of providers and their teaching and support staff, within the frameworks established by the various funding bodies.

    2.8 These improvements have underpinned a successful expansion of higher education. The proportion of young people entering higher education is now close to 1 in 3, compared with 1 in 8 in 1979. Britain now has the highest graduation rate in the European Union.


    [page 13]

    COMPARISONS AGAINST WORLD-CLASS STANDARDS

    2.9 The Government recently undertook a Skills Audit of the UK's comparative performance on qualifications, learning and skills with France, Germany, the United States and Singapore. Its main conclusions were that:

    • the UK has areas of real strength, notably in higher education and in its approach to lifetime learning
    • the UK needs further to raise skill attainment at Levels 2 and 3. At Level 2 and above the UK is behind Germany and France but broadly comparable with the USA and Singapore. At Level 3 and above the UK is behind Germany's achievements but is already at levels comparable with France, Singapore and the USA
    • in the key skills employers seek, the UK compares well in teamworking, and, among young people, in IT, but less well in communication skills and in the application of number.

    2.10 The National Targets for Education and Training provide a further benchmark. Significant progress towards the challenging National Targets for Foundation Learning has already been made. However, progress has recently slowed, making their achievement more challenging still. The Government reaffirms its determination that the National Targets should be achieved.

    National Targets for Education and Training for the Year 2000

    Foundation Learning

    1. By age 19, 85% of young people to achieve 5 GCSEs at grade C or above, an Intermediate GNVQ or an NVQ Level 2. Current position* -.69%

    2. 75% of young people to achieve Level 2 competence in communication, numeracy and IT by age 19; and 35% to achieve Level 3 competence in these key skills by age 21. Current position - measurement of the Target is still under development

    3. By age 21, 60% of young people to achieve 2 GCE A levels, an Advanced GNVQ or an NVQ Level 3. Current position* - 45%.

    *source: Labour Force Survey Winter 1995/96


    [page 14]







    [page 15]

    CHAPTER 3: A new Learning Entitlement

    KEY POINTS
    • To improve participation and achievement the Government will introduce, progressively from September 1997, a new Learning Credits entitlement for all young people aged 14-21 to career planning and learning opportunities up to Level 3. It is consulting on how to implement these new proposals
    • The Government will introduce from 1998 a Charter for Learning which will explain to young people their Learning Credits entitlement and how best to use it.

    3.1 The Government's aim is for all young people to continue learning post-16 whether full-time or part-time. It is determined that all young people should have attractive opportunities for post-compulsory learning, and the best possible preparation for making choices. Many of the elements needed to achieve this are already in place. We now need to bring those elements together in a way which helps young people understand better the value of learning and take greater ownership of their own development.

    A NEW LEARNlNG CREDITS ENTITLEMENT

    3.2 To that end, the Government proposes to introduce from 1997 measures to prepare young people for a new Learning Credits entitlement which will come into force from September 1998.

    A NEW LEARNING CREDITS ENTITLEMENT

    <>All 16 year olds will be entitled to:
    • a Learning Credit which entitles them to enter up to the age of 21 post-compulsory education or training which:
      • is suitable to their needs
      • enables them to achieve the highest qualification level they can reach up to Level 3
    • impartial advice from the Careers Service in making best use of their Learning Credit, including careers information and guidance while they are using their Credit.


    [page 16]

    To prepare them for learning at 16+, they will also be entitled to:
    • education in the National Curriculum at key stage 4
    • careers education and guidance in the final three years of compulsory schooling, including full information and impartial guidance on the options available at ages 14 and 16
    • the review and recording of their personal achievements, setting targets and planning development from the age of 14 using a new record of achievement
    • two weeks of work experience with an employer in the last year of compulsory education.

    3.3 Learning Credits will bring together, into a single individual entitlement to learning, the existing TEC-delivered Guarantee of training opportunities and the duties of the Further Education Funding Council (FEFC) to secure sufficient and adequate education provision post-16. The aim is to help young people make better choices and encourage providers to respond to those choices. Learning Credits will build on the training Guarantee and the FEFC's duties, which will both remain in force as now.

    3.4 Central to the new entitlement will be action planning, supported by careers education and guidance to help young people make informed choices. In recent years careers guidance has been strengthened through increased Government investment, the contracting-out of local careers services, and the appointment of many employers to the boards of careers service companies. In the May 1995 White Paper 'Competitiveness: Forging Ahead' (HMSO Cm 2867) the Government set out proposals to build on these improvements through legislation, and announced that it would consult on these proposals.

    CONSULTATION ON LEGISLATION ON CAREERS EDUCATION AND GUIDANCE

    Purpose of the consultation
    • To seek views on proposals to legislate to secure the provision of careers education, make schools and colleges responsible for working with careers services, and ensure that all young people receive information on all post-16 options.

    Key point from the consultation

    • There was very strong support for the proposals.


    [page 17]

    Agreed action
    • The Government has introduced legislation which, subject to the will of Parliament, will achieve the following:
      • from September 1997 all maintained secondary schools and FE sector colleges will be required to provide the careers service with access to premises, students and relevant information about students
      • from September 1997 all maintained secondary schools and FE sector colleges will be required to work with careers services to ensure that their students have access to comprehensive, up-to-date careers information
      • from September 1998 all maintained secondary schools will be required to provide a programme of careers education and guidance to students in years 9-11.

    3.5 To make best use of their entitlement, young people also need to develop the skills of managing their own learning and development. In his review of 16-19 qualifications, Sir Ron Dearing highlighted the potential of a national record of achievement as a tool to help young people develop these skills. He recommended that the National Record of Achievement (NRA) be reviewed and relaunched, possibly under a new name. He saw the support of employers as crucial to its future success. In May 1996 the Government appointed Sir Nicholas Goodison to chair a Steering Group to oversee the NRA Review. The Steering Group has reported its initial findings and provisional recommendations. The Institute of Employment Studies survey findings suggest that there is scope for encouraging employers to make more use of a new national record of achievement. They want a national record of achievement to be more concise, with better promotion and guidance on its use as a presentational device.

    NRA REVIEW: INITIAL FINDINGS AND PROVISIONAL RECOMMENDATIONS

    Findings
    • The changing nature of work will mean that people of all ages need to manage their own futures, develop in new directions, and acquire and use new knowledge and skills flexibly
    • Involving young people in reviewing and recording personal achievements, setting targets and planning for the future will develop skills of planning and managing their own learning. These activities should be embodied in a new national record of achievement.

    Provisional Recommendations

    • All 14-19 year olds should have the opportunity to participate in reviewing and recording their personal achievements, setting targets and planning their development using a new national record of achievement


    [page 18]

    • In schools these activities should begin early, be formalised by the age of 14, and be integrated with careers education and guidance
    • 14-19 year olds should use a new national record of achievement to develop and record achievement in all the National Council for Vocational Qualifications (NCVQ) key skill units, especially those which develop personal and inter personal skills
    • Agreed programmes of learning for 16-19 year olds should be closely integrated with the activities described above.

    3.6 Structured work experience, integrated into the curriculum with clear standards and outcomes, is essential to helping young people to develop their understanding of the world of work and the skills they will need to be successful in it. Nearly all young people receive at least one week's work experience - two thirds receive two or more - in the last year of compulsory education. The Government now expects that all young people should have two weeks' work experience with an employer in the last year of compulsory education. To support this the Government will continue to provide funds, through TECs, to co-ordinate work experience.

    3.7 Learning Credits will be supported by current arrangements for helping 16-19 year olds and their families to meet living costs while young people are in or seeking to enter learning. The Government provides extensive financial support for this purpose - over 1 billion in 1995-96 for 16-19 year olds in post-compulsory education and training.

    CURRENT ARRANGEMENTS FOR FINANCIAL SUPPORT

    Family entitlements
    • 800,000 families in England with 16-18 year olds in post-compulsory full time education continue to receive child benefit at an annual cost of 450 million. At anyone time some 130,000 of these families also receive additional allowances under Income Support and some 50,000 also receive extra help in Family Credit, at a further annual cost of 250 million.

    Grants, awards and loans

    • Young people in schools and further education sector colleges may apply for a discretionary award from their local education authority towards the cost of their living expenses. Colleges themselves may also provide some funding for those in financial hardship from within their total resources
    • Young people aged 18 or above can apply for a Career Development Loan of up to 8,000 to support up to two years of vocational education or training plus relevant work experience integral to the course.


    [page 18]

    Training allowances

    • The great majority of young people pursuing a Modern Apprenticeship, and many of those on Youth Training, have employed status and receive wages at a level determined by their employer. All other trainees receive at least a guaranteed minimum allowance: many have this allowance 'topped up' by their provider or placement employer
    • Some trainees may also be helped by TECs with the costs of travel, lodgings, the provision of tools and protective clothing, items required on health and safety grounds and childcare expenses. Young people with disabilities are given additional help depending on their needs.

    Support while seeking learning

    • Most young people aged 16 and 17 are not entitled to Jobseeker's Allowance as the Government believes that they should not be dependent on the benefits system but should be in education, training or work. They are therefore guaranteed Youth Training with an associated wage or allowance. But the most vulnerable groups who have no other means of support can get Jobseeker's Allowance which is tailored to encourage them to seek education and training as well as employment. For those waiting to take up training, or who are in between training places, a bridging allowance is available.

    3.8 The Government believes that these arrangements have generally proved and remain effective. Participation in education and training post-16 has risen significantly among young people of all backgrounds. For example, in 1994 the proportion of 16 year olds with parents in unskilled manual jobs who stayed on in full-time education was 56%, more than double that in 1986.


    [page 20]

    NEXT STEPS

    3.9 The Government proposes to introduce a national model for Learning Credits which can be flexibly delivered at local level. It has published 'A Passport to Learning= a consultation document on Learning Credits' (DfEE, December 1996), which sets out in detail the proposed entitlement and seeks views on the delivery and implementation of Credits. The Government intends that all 16 year olds will receive a Learning Credit from 1998. The choices they make will be reflected in the funding that individual providers receive from their funding bodies. Beyond that, the Government has set aside some 30 million over the next three years to support the introduction of Learning Credits, including through enhanced careers information and guidance and the new national record of achievement.

    3.10 The Government will introduce from 1998 a Charter for Learning which will explain to young people their Learning Credits entitlement in detail and outline the support available to help them make the most of it.





    [page 21]

    CHAPTER 4: Equipping young people for adult and working life

    KEY POINTS
    • From September 1998 all secondary schools will be able to offer Part One GNVQ qualifications to 14-16 year olds
    • The Government will support new innovative approaches to vocational study by 14-16 year olds, which could take place in schools, colleges and the workplace
    • In response to Sir Ron Dearing's recommendations on 16-19 qualifications, work is in hand to:
      • design new A levels and AS qualifications due for introduction in September 1998
      • introduce a revised model for all GNVQs, including Part Ones, from September 1998
      • publish improvements to the form and structure of occupational standards and the NVQ model - including a presumption, where employers are content, in favour of external assessment - and complete reviews of all NVQs and SVQs by April 1998 to ensure that they are clear, up-to-date, meet industry requirements, and are subject to robust assessment
      • build on the success of Modern Apprenticeships: from September 1997 employers will offer National Traineeships to help 16-19 year olds reach NVQ Level 2 and acquire key skills
    • Much work is also in hand to ensure that young people acquire key skills as part of their education or training
    • The Government will act to help young people and providers make better use of information about the needs of the labour market when making choices and deciding what to offer, thus improving young people's chances of finding jobs and better meeting employers' skill needs.

    4.1 All 14-19 learning should equip young people with the key skills, behaviour and attitudes critical to success in adult and working life. To achieve this it is essential that we continue to develop:

    • 14-16 learning which is more effectively related to the world of work
    • a coherent framework of high quality qualifications post-16 testing the abilities needed to progress in further learning and work
    • improved work-based training options
    • better flows of information about the labour market to inform young people's choices and the planning and delivery of provision.


    [page 22]

    MAKING 14-16 LEARNlNG MORE WORK-RELATED

    4.2 The National Curriculum is the centrepiece and springboard for preparing all young people for working life. All GCSEs now provide opportunities for high quality work related learning. Two-thirds of schools use work experience to contribute to the final GCSE grade, in subjects such as English, technology and IT, as well as business studies. Many GCSEs now have specifically vocational elements, and these vocational GCSEs are taken by over 100,000 pupils every year. More generally, young people have access to a broad education including, for example, art and sport, which encourages links with wider adult life. OFSTED inspectors look for evidence of how schools liaise with TECs and employers, plan and monitor work experience, help pupils make choices at 16 and prepare them for adult and working life.

    4.3 Following the Sir Ron Dearing's review of 16-19 qualifications, in April 1996 the Government published 'Equipping Young People for Working Life - a Consultative Document on Improving Employability through the 14-16 Curriculum' (DfEE).

    CONSULTATION ON IMPROVING EMPLOYABILITY THROUGH THE 14-16 CURRICULUM

    Purpose of the consultation
    • To seek views on how the wide range of activity already taking place in partnership with business could be built upon and strengthened.

    Key points from the consultation

    • Far more use should be made of the opportunities already available within the National Curriculum to prepare all 14-16 year olds for working and adult life
    • Further vocational options should be developed at 14+, relevant and attractive to young people of all abilities. There is support for piloting projects involving schools, colleges, employers and training providers. Many local initiatives are already under way
    • To underpin local initiatives there should be an agreed framework setting out the objectives of work-related learning and principles to guide its delivery
    • Employers have a vital role to play but need to be convinced that involvement is in their own interests. There needs to be effective local co-ordination of activities so that the workload on individual employers and schools is minimised.

    Agreed action

    • The Government will take action with its partners to open up new vocational options at 14+
    • The Government will work with its partners to develop an agreed framework for work-related learning
    • The Government will implement a programme of support for teaching in schools; for work experience; for the development of key skills; and for improving education-business links.


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    4.4 One of the most exciting recent curriculum developments has been the piloting of a new vocational qualification for 14-16 year olds: the Part One GNVQ, a slimmer version of the full qualification. Currently 17,000 students in over 250 schools are studying these new courses in six subject areas. The pilot has been subject to an in-depth evaluation by the Office for Standards in Education (OFSTED) with an interim report published in November 1996. OFSTED's findings highlight the positive impact of the new courses in motivating young people across the ability range. Many pilot schools have established or built on impressive links with local business and industry.

    4.5 The Government declares its intention that all secondary schools should be able to offer Part One GNVQs to their 14-16 year old pupils, if they wish, from September 1998. This is subject to further evaluation of the pilot by OFSTED and successful revision of the arrangements for the assessment of the qualification. A programme is planned for 1997 to disseminate guidance and examples of best practice.

    4.6 The majority of those responding to the consultation also welcomed the idea of opening up further new vocational options at 14+ and piloting joint projects involving schools, colleges, employers and training providers. The Government wants to build on the wide range of existing good practice. Accordingly it will:

    • invite bids from TECs and others for demonstration projects to test the feasibility and practical implications of innovative means of delivering vocational provision at key stage 4 within the framework of the existing National Curriculum and qualifications
    • disseminate examples of existing models and good practice.

    4.7 'Employability' will be essential to all young people throughout their working lives, whether they leave full-time education at 16, 18 or 2l. The Government will work with the School Curriculum and Assessment Authority (SCAA) , the TEC National Council and others to refine and develop the following outline objectives for those working to improve employability through the 14-16 curriculum:

    • all young people should know what specific skills, understanding and attitudes they need to develop to equip them for the world of work
    • all young people should have the opportunities to develop these skills, understanding and attitudes
    • business should play an important role in developing and delivering the curriculum, to improve both employability and overall levels of attainment.


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    4.8 To support these objectives the Government 'will also take forward with SCAA and its other partners a wide-ranging programme of support designed to help young people relate what they learn at school to the circumstances they will face in adult and working life. The main focus will be on the 14-16 curriculum, building wherever possible on foundations developed in the primary and earlier secondary years. This will include:

    • a report by OFSTED on the ways in which schools prepare young people for adult and working life, to establish the standards and outcomes of such teaching and highlight good practice.
    • case studies produced by SCAA of good practice in using work-related contexts in the teaching of National Curriculum and other subjects
    • advice from the Teacher Training Agency on how best to reflect work-related learning in the revised criteria for initial teacher training and in the national standards for teachers
    • new national quality standards for work experience placements, and new guidance and support materials which will, for example, help schools to integrate work experience into the curriculum, clarify health and safety procedures and establish cost effective ways of meeting the legal obligations
    • inviting SCAA to investigate the extent to which requirements in GCSE mathematics and English meet the reasonable expectations of employers in relation to the skills of communication and application of number, so that this can inform future thinking about the National Curriculum
    • wider testing of some promising ways of involving employers in raising standards in schools (based on the London Enterprise Agency's 'Pathways' project - see below), and publication of the results
    • developing and encouraging the recording of the key skills of 'working with others' and 'improving own learning and performance' in a visible and accessible way in the national record of achievement from age 14, and commissioning projects to test the scope for the separate certification of the related National Council for Vocational Qualifications (NCVQ) key skill units at key stage 4.




    [page 25]

    THE 'PATHWAYS' PROJECT
    • Pathways Toward Adult and Working Life is managed by the London Enterprise Agency and sponsored by a number of major companies including Barclays Bank, ESSO, Marks and Spencer and Unilever. Seventeen primary and secondary schools are taking part in Cheshire, Doncaster and Lewisham
    • The project has developed a framework to define what students should know and understand in their preparation for adult life. Targets are set for young people from age 5 to 16. The aim is to improve young people's understanding of their personal development, the world of work, and the opportunities, responsibilities and rights which they enjoy
    • The framework helps schools audit where they are and what further steps are needed by the school, colleges, Careers Service, Education Business Partnerships, TECs and employers. Schools taking part see the project as a valuable tool for school improvement and raising levels of attainment. Employers like it because it brings a sharper focus to their work with these schools.

    4.9 The Government believes that effective local partnership arrangements playa critical part in promoting productive and successful links between business and education. Substantial resources are provided through TECs, the Single Regeneration Budget and other Challenge funds, local authorities, EU programmes and - not least - business. To provide continued impetus the Government will:

    • expect TECs to set out in their Business Plans what they will do to work with their partners to promote and co-ordinate education-business links in their areas
    • support the recently established National Education Business Partnerships Network
    • with its partners, complete a review of the effectiveness of the local mechanisms through which business and education work together, and use the findings to develop future arrangements
    • challenge and encourage a wider range of employers to become involved - for example by promoting the business benefits, particularly to small and medium employers, and by continuing to support the work of intermediaries at national and local level.

    Engaging the active support of employers will be critical to the achievement of these objectives. The challenge to employers is set out in Chapter 8.


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    KEY SKILLS

    • The key skills demanded by employers form a vital feature of 14-19 learning, running across many different strands. The key skills include communication, application of number, information technology, improving own learning and performance, working with others and problem solving. Action to foster them consists of:
      • including the NCVQ key skill unit in information technology as an approved qualification in key stage 4
      • including key skills in the GNVQ Part One, which will be available to all secondary schools
      • welcoming proposals by the NRA Steering Group to use a new national record of achievement to record achievement in key skills from age 14
      • commissioning projects to test the scope for certification of key skills in working with others and improving own learning at key stage 4
      • investigating the extent to which National Curriculum requirements in mathematics and English reflect the reasonable expectations of employers
      • maintaining key skills as an essential part of the strengthened GNVQ
      • using key skills to help motivate young people within Relaunch strategies (see Chapter 5)
      • incorporating key skills in Modern Apprenticeships and in the new National Traineeships
      • making available qualifications in key skills within the A level pathway
      • working towards national certificates and diplomas which would include recognition of key skills attainment.

    DEVELOPING QlJALIFlCATIONS AT 16

    4.10 The Government has set in train a comprehensive programme to review the structure of post-If qualifications and to update and strengthen particular types of qualifications.

    The structure of post-16 qualifications

    4.11 Sir Ron Dearing's report of March 1996 on the review of 16-19 qualifications was widely welcomed. The Government is taking forward its recommendations with vigour. In order to improve the coherence of the 16-19 qualifications framework, the Government has aLready announced its decision to merge SCAA and the NCVQ (subject to the passage of the necessary legislation) into a singLe body - the Qualifications and National Curriculum Authority - from September 1997. All the developments in this White Paper are designed to support the report's agenda.


    [page 27]

    4.12 Work continues on a number of important areas. Having consulted widely, aJoint Committee of SCAA and NCVQ will shortly provide the Government with advice on:

    • the structure of the qualifications framework
    • quality assurance
    • key skills and their inclusion in the qualifications framework
    • national certificates designed to gain greater recognition of the National Targets
    • an advanced diploma designed to encourage breadth of achievement
    • participation and standards in science and mathematics.

    Courses leading to the new qualifications are expected to begin in September 1998. The first certificates and diplomas are likely to be awarded in 2000.

    4.13 Alongside Sir Ron Dearing's review, and linking very closely to it, were work to review and strengthen A level standards, the review of GNVQ assessment chaired by Dr John Capey, and the review of the top 100 NVQs/SVQs chaired by Mr Gordon Beaumont. Continuing work to take these forward is set out below.

    Strengthening GCE A levels

    4.14 GCE A levels are tried, tested and successful, and the Government is committed to retaining them as the main academic route into higher education and employment for 16-19 year olds. To build further on this success it is vital to maintain standards, reduce the numbers dropping out from A level programmes without a qualification, and encourage breadth of study and the acquisition of key skills.

    4.15 Sir Ron Dearing's review made recommendations:

    • to reinforce A level standards by:
      • monitoring comparability and consistency between modular and linear courses, and tightening up the rules on resitting individual modules
      • reducing the number of syllabuses

        reviewing standards between subjects

    • reviewing standards over time in each subject every five years
    • to reduce wastage and promote breadth by introducing a new Advanced Subsidiary (AS) qualification, representing the first half of a full A level. Students completing the first year of an A level course would be able either to proceed to the full A level or take the AS qualification and concentrate on other areas


    [page 28]

    • to develop students' key skills by reviewing A level subject cores and syllabuses to identify what further scope there is to build in relevant elements of communication, application of number and information technology, and by considering the scope for an AS qualification incorporating these key skills.

    4.16 Work is continuing in all these areas. The Government will shortly receive final advice from SCAA on strengthening the rules on modular A levels to ensure compatibility with traditional linear examinations; the structure of the proposed new AS examination; and the new subject cores for A levels and AS qualifications. It will also receive advice from the Joint Committee on the best means of securing a qualification in key skills for the A level pathway. The range of new A level and new AS qualifications is planned to be available from September 1998.

    Strengthening GNVQs

    4.17 GNVQs are already contributing strongly to meeting the National Targets.

    Nearly 150,000 GNVQs have been awarded and over a quarter of a million students are working towards them. In the past two years, around 90% of Advanced GNVQ applicants have been offered university places. GNVQ students develop independent learning skills and the ability to plan and organise their work, which form a sound basis for lifelong learning.

    4.18 The Government is taking action to build on this success. The development of 6-unit (Single Award) GNVQs at Advanced Level will further extend the availability of GNVQs, and encourage the mixing and matching of GNVQs 'with A levels and other qualifications to meet individuals' and employers' needs.

    4.19 In November 1996 the Government announced revised assessment and grading arrangements for all GNVQs, taking forward the recommendations of the Capey and Dearing reviews and building on the characteristics which have made GNVQs successful. Key features include:

    • improving the rigour, reliability and validity of external assessment
    • reducing the recording burden on teachers
    • better benchmarking of national standards through externally set and moderated assignments
    • simpler grading arrangements
    • a clearer focus on key skills coverage and attainment.

    These new arrangements will be in place for courses starting in September 1998.


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    Strengthening NVQs/SVQs

    4.20 The Government is committed to NVQs as the qualifications which embody the standards of performance required in the workplace. It has initiated a substantial programme of work to improve them. In March 1996 the Government announced an Action Plan to ensure that NVQs are clear, up-to-date, meet industry requirements and are subject to robust assessment. An in depth evaluation of each NVQ is currently under way and all reviews will have been completed by April 1998. Following recent consultations by NCVQ and SCOTVEC, improvements to the form and structure of occupational standards and the NVQ model will be published in 1997. These will include a presumption, where employers are content, in favour of external assessment.

    4.21 The Government will help ensure the quality ofNVQs gained as an outcome of Government-supported training programmes. The quality, consistency and number of external verification visits to NVQ centres involved with these programmes will be increased. To assess key skills in the NVQs used in Government-supported training, the Government sees advantage in applying the same regime of set assignments as is being developed for GNVQs. It will therefore pilot these assignments in the work-based route.

    4.22 There are now about as many NVQs available at Level 4 as Level 1 but the drive towards completion of the NVQ Framework needs to be sustained, particularly for those occupations where there are no widely recognised professional qualifications. The Government is now issuing a Position Paper, setting out its current thinking on higher level vocational qualifications in the light of consultations carried out in 1995.

    IMPROVING WORK-BASED TRAINING

    4.23 Introduced nationally from September 1995, Modern Apprenticeships have quickly become established as a high quality work-based training route for young people aiming for technician and management positions in industry and commerce. Nearly all Modern Apprentices are in employment. Over 50,000 young people have started Modern Apprenticeships, based on frameworks set by the industry concerned, thanks to the sterling efforts of TECs and Industry Training Organisations. By the turn of the century the Government expects to see over 60,000 young people each year completing their Apprenticeships and qualifying at NVQ Level 3 or above. The Government's contribution to their costs over the next three years is planned to total over 1 billion - and this will be more than matched by the contributions of employers. New developments include the introduction of Modern Apprenticeships into the armed forces and Government Departments - starting with DfEE in April 1997 - and the development of a framework for junior managers by the Management Charter Initiative.


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    CASE STUDY 1 - LANGLEY SOLICITORS AND MODERN APPRENTICESHIPS
    • Lincoln-based Langley Solicitors has 80 employees. It recently recruited to its property department school leaver Chris Parkinson as its first Modern Apprentice in Residential Estate Agency
    • Sales Manager Julie Bohan says: "We were looking for a young person with enthusiasm, commitment, and the ability to cope intellectually with a Level 3 NVQ. The young people who responded to our advert were all highly motivated. They knew they were embarking on a career, not just a job"
    • The Modern Apprenticeship is based on a framework set by the industry. Chris spends half a day every week in college. The funding package from Lincolnshire TEC covers the costs of the external elements of the training
    • Julie Bohan says: "Estate Agency has long needed a consistent benchmark of competence. Modern Apprenticeships provide just that and should help the industry build a base of qualified and skilled practitioners which will stand it in good stead for the future."

    CASE STUDY 2 - GLEASON WORKS LIMITED AND MODERN APPRENTICESHIPS
    • Gleason Works Limited, Plymouth, makes highly specialised tooling for manufacturing gears. Each order is tailor-made to client specifications and 98% of production is exported. Clients include Ford, Land Rover, BMW and Volvo. It has an annual turnover of 14 million
    • Personnel Officer Ed Owen explains: "We were attracted to the Modern Apprenticeship initiative because of its flexibility, quality and ability to draw high calibre candidates. There is a skills shortage in engineering and on top of this we're in a period of constantly changing technology. The individuals who succeed in the future as engineers will need to be highly skilled, flexible, and able to communicate"
    • The Modern Apprenticeship is more flexible than the in-house training programme it has replaced. "We can pick and choose units to meet our needs for particular skills" says Ed Owen. Besides learning technical skills such as bench-fitting, milling and electrical maintenance, the Modern Apprentices work on developing key skills which are transferable such as communications, numeracy, team working and Information Technology
    • Devon and Cornwall TEC contributes towards the cost. "The financial incentive was an additional factor encouraging us to take part", says Ed Owen. "But more important was the opportunity to train for a quality workforce."

    4.24 Building on the success of Modern Apprenticeships the Government is committed to raising the quality of all Government-supported training. Views were sought on Sir Ron Dearing's proposals for reforming and relaunching training for young people in a consultation document 'Maximising Potential: New Options/or Learning after 16' (DfEE, July 1996), and through a series of regional conferences.


    [page 31]

    NATIONAL TRAINEESHIPS

    Purpose of the consultation

    • To seek views on how Government-supported training for young people should be reformed and relaunched

    Key point from the consultation

    • Support for proposals to introduce new National Traineeships to replace Youth Training from September 1997

    Agreed action

    • National Traineeships will start in September 1997, building on the best of current training provision and features of Modern Apprenticeships. The main features will be:
      • a focus on achievement, aiming for NVQ Level 2 and incorporating all 6 key skills as part of the learning programme, with opportunities for progression to Modern Apprenticeships at NVQ Level 3
      • support from industry bodies in defining the application of National Traineeships in their particular sectors, and the full involvement of individual employers in the training process through a written agreement with the trainee, employed status wherever possible and substantial periods of experience in the workplace
    • By the end of the century, if employers respond as they have with Modern Apprenticeships, the Government expects National Traineeships to be an equally important and valued part of the education and training landscape.

    IMPROVING FLOWS OF INFORMATION ABOUT THE LABOUR MARKET

    4.25 Improving the quality, accessibility and use of labour market intelligence is vital to effective careers guidance to young people and to the planning and delivery of learning which meets employers' needs. The Government is working closely with its partners to encourage co-operation at all levels:

    • nationally, joint work between the DfEE, FEFC and the TEC National Council has produced annual analyses of national skills needs and the contribution FE can make to meeting them
    • regionally, labour market information is being used to identify and respond to specific skill needs. Groupings of FE, TEC and Government Office representatives meet regularly to take this work forward, assisting the FEFC in its duty to secure sufficient and adequate education provision post -16


    [page 32]

    • locally, colleges work closely with TECs in planning their provision to take account of labour market needs. Through the FE Competitiveness and Development Funds, to which the Government is contributing a further 80 million over the next three years, colleges are working in partnership with employers to develop capital provision that meets specific skill needs.

    4.26 The Government is determined to build on this progress, particularly to improve information and guidance on the labour market to help young people make the best use of their Learning Credits. The Government will:

    • require careers services to draw on the work ofTECs and others to provide parents of 14-19 year olds in education with an easily comprehensible annual labour market summary appropriate to their local area
    • make funding available in 1997 to encourage the FE sector, schools, TECs, the Careers Service and others to work together on initiatives seeking to:
      • generate further demand among young people and those who influence them for accurate, timely labour market information, and improve its availability and relevance to their needs
      • encourage the sharing of information to identify labour market needs and its tailoring to meet particular local requirements; and better collaboration between providers in considering how well provision meets those needs and how it could adapt to meet them more effectively
    • in 1997 undertake, with TECs, the FEFC and other key partners, a fundamental review of how different sectors use labour market information with a view to improving existing arrangements.





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    CHAPTER 5: Improving motivation and tackling under-achievement

    KEY POINTS
    • Taking forward Sir Ron Dearing's recommendations, from September 1997 the Government will introduce its Relaunch strategy - a new start for young people, drawing together action and innovation by local partnerships to identify disaffected 14-19 year olds and bring them back into learning. These local strategies will include improved access provision post-16 and targets for year-on-year reductions in the numbers of 16 and 17 year olds not in learning.

    5.1 If our system is to be truly world-class we must tackle under-achievement and early dropping-out from learning by 14-19 year olds. This is vital to raising attainment, and to ensuring that all young people maximise their potential and can participate fully as citizens.

    5.2 The Government has already taken action at national level in a number of areas:

    • the National Curriculum and GCSEs are designed to recognise performance across the ability range and to reward achievement rather than penalise failure
    • specific additional measures have been introduced to improve provision of basic skills, including the Literacy and Numeracy project and family literacy programmes, and the Government is carrying out a fundamental review of its policies for basic skills across all stages and sectors of education
    • the Government has introduced legislation to improve discipline in schools so that all pupils have the orderly environment in which to give of their best; to help ensure proper support for schools in dealing with pupils with behavioural problems; and to promote effective provision for such pupils out of school where necessary
    • the Government has provided support for local projects to address the problems of truancy and disruptive pupils
    • the Government's 'Make a Difference' initiative aims to improve young people's self-esteem and motivation through involvement in voluntary activity
    • the Government's funds the Youth Service through local authorities and the voluntary sector. The Youth Service has a good track record of working with disaffected young people to develop their self-confidence, reliability and ability to work with others.


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    In Chapter 3 of this White Paper the Government has announced the introduction of a new Learning Credits entitlement from age 14 to encourage more young people to stay in learning and achieve more.

    5.3 The Government believes that there are now two areas for priority action:

    • coherent local strategies to identify those likely to drop out of learning early and to address their needs, including through improved access provision at 16+
    • the development of new Entry level qualifications to encourage low achievers to stay in or re-enter structured learning.

    LOCAL ACTION TO MOTIVATE LEARNERS

    5.4 Many agencies and partnerships are trying out fresh ideas to improve motivation and achievement amongst young people. The Government will shortly publish a new Good Practice Guide to spread further the lessons learnt. It welcomes the FEFC's initiative in setting up a Committee on Widening Participation in Further Education by people of all ages, and looks forward to its conclusions in due course.

    CASE STUDY 3 - EAST LANCASHIRE COMPACT PLUS

    East Lancashire Careers Service has developed a programme for young people identified as being at risk of being unemployed at the end of year 11. The result has been that 80 per cent of this group progressed into education, training or employment. In their final year of compulsory education the students follow a curriculum based on job competences backed by enterprise activities. This is directed by a Careers Adviser who also offers a guidance programme with monitoring and reviewing of individual action plans. The Adviser works with the students throughout their transition and remains in contact to offer support during the subsequent two years.

    CASE STUDY 4 - CITIES IN SCHOOLS

    Cities in Schools has contracts with an increasing number of LEAs to provide 'bridge courses' for 14 and 15 year olds who are out of school. These courses involve closely-managed, high-quality but cost-effective packages of education and training (two days a week at a further education college, two days of work experience and one day of group work and personal and social education). There is evidence that many school pupils who are seriously disaffected respond well to this kind of course, and are successfully brought back into mainstream opportunities for further education, training or the world of work.


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    5.5 To build on these successes the Government is committed to introducing new arrangements for low-attainers and under-achievers, as recommended by Sir Ron Dearing in his review of 16-19 qualifications. fnJuly 1996 the Government issued a consultation document 'Maximising Potential: New Options for Learning after 16' (DfEE), seeking views on how such arrangements might operate.

    CONSULTATION ON MAXIMISING POTENTIAL

    Purpose of the consultation
    • To seek views on how best to introduce effective new arrangements to help young people with low attainment or under-achievement.

    Key points from the consultation

    • There is a need for more consistency and co-ordination in efforts to address disaffection, low attainment and lack of career direction
    • These efforts need to start at 14 if not earlier, rather than 16.

    Agreed action

    • The Government will work with its key partners to introduce a Relaunch strategy - a new start for young people - to identify and tackle disaffection to enable all young people to make the most of their Learning Credits entitlement
    • It will build further on current and developing policies at 14+ and earlier, and seek to reduce the numbers of 16 and 17 year olds who are not in learning.

    5.6 The new strategy will consist of three key elements:

    • using current and developing initiatives within secondary schooling to identify those likely to require additional help to stay in learning
    • capitalising on existing best practice to help these young people make consistent progress until 16 and an effective transition to further learning or work
    • developing improved access provision, including outreach, for 16 year olds who are not yet ready to enter further mainstream learning, building on the Learning Credits entitlements to an individual action plan and to suitable post-If provision. Part or whole qualifications may be offered where appropriate, including units of1\lVQs or GNVQs, and the new range of Entry Level awards. There will be a strong emphasis on developing key skills and skills for independent adult life. The main outcome will be progression into mainstream learning as soon as possible after 16, providing access to qualifications for a wider range of young people.


    [page 36]

    5.7 This approach will bring together local partners to maximise the impact of their individual contributions. The action they will take - and the partners themselves - may vary from area to area depending on local circumstances. However, the Government expects TECs, careers services, schools, colleges, local authorities, youth services and voluntary bodies to make important contributions. It sees TECs as best placed to convene the partnerships, building on their responsibility to set lip local Targets Task Forces.

    5.8 The Government will introduce the new strategy from September 1997. Every part of the country already has in place a number of measures to tackle the issues outlined above. But the Government is looking for more coherence and more effective action. It will therefore invite local consortia to bid for the opportunity to run innovative partnership projects for coherent local action, and will provide funds for pump-priming and the dissemination of outcomes. The local consortia will have to identify the proportion of 16 and 17 year olds not participating in learning, and set out how their strategies will result in reductions year on year. Rigorous evaluation of the different approaches and achievements of local partnerships will provide valuable lessons for tackling disaffection in future. The Government will introduce this strategy in such a way that there will not be increased burdens on schools.

    5.9 The Government wishes to involve its key partners in developing and monitoring the progress of the partnership projects, and will therefore establish an Advisory Group at national level to assist in this work.

    5.10 The Government will expect the strategies to operate within the framework of the National Curriculum and existing qualifications. There may however be good reason to explore how requirements at key stage 4 might be further adapted in particular circumstances to support under-achieving or demotivated pupils. SCAA is considering how such approaches might be taken forward, and the Government looks forward to its detailed proposals. In the light of this advice it will consider whether new approaches need to be piloted.

    ENTRY LEVEL QUALIFlCATIONS

    5.11 Sir Ron Dearing's review also proposed the development of a range of qualifications below grade G of GCSE, Foundation level GNVQ, or Level 1 NVQ. These qualifications - to be called 'Entry Level' qualifications -would aim to motivate those with low attainments to stay in or to re-enter formal learning, with a view to progression to higher level study.

    5.12 SCAA has been working to identify and approve existing qualifications at this level. The best awards in literacy, numeracy and information technology which meet the Government's quality criteria have now been approved for use in schools from September 1996. For the first time, schools can be confident that the qualifications they offer pupils at this level are of a consistently high, nationally agreed standard. Work continues to increase the range of entry level qualifications in key skills available to


    [page 37]

    schools. SCAA is now considering the approval of entry level qualifications in the other National Curriculum subjects and, with NCVQ, for contexts outside schools. They will shortly advise the Government on new qualifications to be approved for use from September 1997.

    LEARNING FOR PEOPLE WITH LEARNING DIFFICULTIES OR DISABILITIES

    5.13 The Government is committed to improving provision for young people with learning difficulties or disabilities so as to enable them to maximise their potential.

    5.14 In 1993 the FEFC established a Learning Difficulties and/ or Disabilities Committee chaired by Professor John Tomlinson. Its task was to review the range and type of further education provision available for students with learning difficulties and disabilities, and make recommendations as to how the FEFC could, by working with colleges and others, best fulfil its responsibilities towards these students.

    5.15 The Committee's report of September 1996 recognised the considerable progress made by colleges over recent years and concluded that the key to improving the quality of learning is to match the methods of assessment, teaching and support with the way each student learns best. It recommended that the FEFC use its funding powers and right to inspect colleges to:

    • open up FE to people with disabilities who do not currently participate
    • increase opportunities for people with learning difficulties and disabilities
    • improve the quality of further education for these students.

    5.16 The Government welcomes the publication of the report and looks to the FEFC to take forward action, within available resources, to improve provision for students with learning difficulties and disabilities.

    5.17 In early 1997 the DfEE, the Department of Health and the Department of Social Security are planning to issue a joint guidance document to local providers of services for young people with disabilities on the transition from school to further education, training or employment. It will help to clarify the roles and responsibilities of these agencies and emphasise the need for effective collaboration so that the needs of young people with disabilities are met coherently.


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    CHAPTER 6: Quality Assurance and Performance Information 16-19

    KEY POINTS
    • Common principles have been agreed to underpin the quality assurance of all 16-19 learning
    • The Government is acting to reduce the burdens on providers by removing overlap and duplication of effort by the various bodies involved in quality assurance
    • A new external inspection regime for work-based training providers will be introduced during 1997-98
    • The Government is taking steps to develop greater consistency in the performance information published about 16-19 learning.

    6.1 To enable young people to make sound choices we need consistent and rigorous quality assurance and accurate information comparing the performance of post-If providers. We also need benchmarks against which providers may assess and improve their own performance. To these ends the Government is working with its partners to identify and spread good practice in quality assurance arrangements and to publish better provider performance information.

    PRINCIPLES UNDERPINNING QUALITY ASSURANCE

    6.2 The June 1996 White Paper 'Competitiveness: Creating the Enterprise Centre of Europe' (HMSO Cm 3300) identified three key elements to quality assurance:

    • self-assessment by providers
    • external inspection
    • clear published information on provider performance.

    6.3 On the basis of these elements, the Government and the agencies involved in the quality assurance of school sixth forms, FE sector colleges and work-based training for young people have been working together to agree a set of principles to underpin their work.


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    SUMMARY OF PRINCIPLES UNDERPINNING QUALITY ASSURANCE

    • Prime responsibility for quality must rest with the provider
    • Self-assessment provides the impetus for quality improvement and must be structured, rigorous and continuous
    • External inspection provides necessary public assurance of the quality of provision and external validation of standards
    • Both self-assessment and external inspection must operate alongside rigorous assessment of qualifications, and should focus on the same criteria, at the forefront , of which are the quality of teaching and learning, and learner achievement
    • Comparative information on provider performance should be widely available to inform young people's and parents' choices and promote continuous improvement.

    6.4 The Government will work with its partners to apply these principles consistently across schools, colleges, and training providers.

    SELF-ASSESSMENT

    6.5 The June 1996 White Paper 'Self-Government for Schools' (HMSO Cm 3315) stressed schools' own responsibility for self-improvement. Further measures were announced in September 1996 to extend the use of performance measurement and target setting. The Government has introduced legislation to require schools to set their own individual targets annually for pupils' performance in national curriculum assessments, and to publish these in their annual reports.

    6.6 The FEFC has recently sought views on how colleges might develop a self-critical culture. Subject to the results of this consultation exercise, the Council is proposing that its Inspectorate, in collaboration with the Further Education Development Agency, should provide guidance on self-assessment.

    6.7 TECs, training providers and employers have been developing methods of self-assessment for work-based training for some time as part of the TECs' arrangements for approving their suppliers.

    EXTERNAL INSPECTION

    6.8 The need for rigorous external inspection of schools and colleges is now well understood. Following extensive consultation by OFSTED on the introduction of a more targeted system of external inspection, the Government announced in September 1996 that it had accepted the Chief Inspector's recommendations that all schools should be inspected at least


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    once within a six year period, with weaker schools being inspected more frequently. This new arrangement will begin when the current four-year sweep of all schools has been completed.

    6.9 The first quadrennial cycle of college inspections by the FEFC Inspectorate will be completed in 1997. The FEFC has proposed that this regime should continue for a further four-year cycle, and that accreditation of colleges as self-assessing institutions might be introduced towards the end of that period. Accreditation will be awarded against rigorous criteria to be decided by the FEFC.

    6.10 Work-based training providers are not currently subject to a nationally organised external inspection regime. The Government believes that such a regime should be introduced, based on a common self-assessment framework, to reinforce the existing quality assurance arrangements. In August 1996 the Government published 'Strengthening self-assessment and introducing an external inspection regime in Government funded training: a consultation paper' (DfEE).

    CONSULTATION ON STRENGTHENING SELF-ASSESSMENT AND EXTERNAL INSPECTION OF WORK-BASED TRAINING

    Purpose of the consultation
    • To seek views about strengthening self-assessment in work-based training through, the use of a single national quality framework, and about introducing new external inspection arrangements in work-based training.

    Key points from the consultation so far

    • Broad support for the proposals, particularly for the recognition Of self-assessment as a major factor in assuring quality and for the introduction of a single national quality framework for work-based training
    • Various proposals on the management of the inspection regime, including one from TECs that the regime should be managed nationally by TECs
    • Concern that the application of any new arrangements to employers will need careful handling to avoid imposing unjustified burdens.

    Agreed action

    • The Government will introduce a new external inspection regime during 1997-98, in partnership with TECs and others. Consultations are continuing on how the various suggested arrangements might meet key criteria such as independence, consistency arid rigour without imposing unnecessary burdens on business
    • The suggested self-assessment framework is being trialled with a number of training providers in two TEC areas
    • The Government will publish the outcome of the consultations and its proposed way forward early in 1997.


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    MUTUAL RECOGNITION OF QUALlTY ASSURANCE

    6.11 The Government is determined to ensure that effective quality assurance of education and training provision is achieved with the minimum burden on providers. The current overlap and duplication of effort by the various bodies involved in the quality assurance of this provision is not acceptable. The Government intends to move as quickly as possible to a situation where:

    • a single portfolio of evidence collected by a provider is accepted by all inspectorates
    • inspections by different agencies do not duplicate each other's work
    • there is close integration of inspections of organisations which offer both FEFC and TEC-funded provision
    • there is mutual recognition by individual TECs of each other's quality assurance arrangements for providers who operate in more than one TEC area.

    COMPARATIVE PERFORMANCE INDICATORS

    6.12 Over the last decade there has been impressive progress in the publication of information to enable students, parents and employers to gain a clearer picture of the performance of local providers. The Government currently publishes:

    • performance tables of secondary schools covering the achievements of pupils aged 15, and 16-18
    • performance tables comparing school and college performance in specific qualifications achieved by the 16-18 age group
    • inter-TEC comparison tables comparing the performance ofTECs across several measures including the performance of youth trainees in achieving NVQs.

    6.13 The FEFC will shortly be publishing details of individual colleges' achievements and progress against six performance indicators. The Government welcomes this development and believes it can be built on further.


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    TARGETS AND PERFORMANCE IN FE SECTOR COLLEGES

    • The setting of tough but realistic targets is a proven mechanism for driving up standards, and the Government believes that this is a key way in which students can achieve greater success in obtaining their qualifications
    • The Government has therefore concluded that FE sector colleges, like schools, should set annual targets for achievement
    • The Government also proposes the adoption from 1997 of an additional college performance indicator on the destination of students on completion of their courses. This will enable local people to judge the effectiveness of colleges in developing students for employment and higher education. The Government would look to the FEFC to secure that college effectiveness in this regard was given appropriate weight in their funding.

    6.14 The Government also requires the publication of local data through school prospectuses, college information on students' achievements and career routes, and TEC data on the performance of training providers. On the last of these, practices vary considerably and the Government will require TECs to make this information available in a more consistent way. It will also require careers services to make available the data they collect on the destinations and progression of pupils completing compulsory education.

    6.15 The collection and publication of performance information has tended to develop separately in each sector, although the introduction of 16-18 performance tables covering both schools and colleges has been an important exception. The Government proposes to develop an agreed framework of definitions and procedures to enable local information on the performance of school sixth forms, FE sector colleges and work-based training providers to be produced on a more consistent basis. In doing so it will seek to take into account measures of value added as far as practicable. To be accessible, information must be presented in a user-friendly way. The Government will look to the Careers Service to playa key role in making usable information available to young people and their parents at critical stages in their decision-making.



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    CHAPTER 7: Funding

    KEY POINTS
    • The Government's expenditure plans for the years 1997-2000 will support the programme of action set out in this White Paper
    • The Government will publish in early 1997 new comparisons of public funding levels across 16-19 education and training nationally, and will conduct new analysis to compare funding between sectors at local level
    • The Government plans to apply to the funding of all 16-19 education and training common funding principles that support good recruitment practices and effective teaching and training, and reward achievement by young people
    • The Government will propose, in consultation with its key partners, changes to funding arrangements in all sectors in line with the common funding principles
    • New funding arrangements will be introduced from 1997-98 for training for young people which are consistent with these principles, and which will reduce bureaucracy for TECs and their providers
    • The Government proposes, in Spring 1997, to invite interested LEAs and the Funding Agency for Schools to develop, test and evaluate new approaches to funding school sixth forms, including arrangements for an element of output-related funding.

    THE GOVERNMENT'S EXPENDITURE PLANS

    7.1 Public expenditure on 14 .. 16 education and training in England currently totals over 6 billion. The Government's plans for the next three years, as announced in the November 1996 Budget, will make available in England:

    • provision for schools in 1997-98 of an additional 830 million
    • continuing investment in the Careers Service of over 600 million for the next three years
    • 80 million over the next two years for further education sector colleges, in addition to their annual budget of 3 billion, to underpin continued growth in the sector
    • 80 million over the next three years for the FE Competitiveness and Development Funds, which make the FE sector more responsive to the needs of local labour markets


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    • an increase of 128 million in the total investment of over 2 billion over the next three years in work-based training for young people, including Modern Apprenticeships and National Traineeships.

    7.2 Within these plans, the Government has specifically set aside funding for the development and pump-priming of the programme of action set out in this White Paper, including:

    • some 30 million over the next three years to support the introduction of Learning Credits and the new national record of achievement
    • 10 million over the next three years for partnership projects within its Relaunch strategy designed to help 14-19 year olds at risk of dropping out early from formal learning
    • 5 million for the development of a qualifications framework for National Traineeships.

    7.3 This provides a framework within which the Government's partners can work to achieve the vision set out in this White Paper. It will require continuing gains in efficiency and effectiveness in all sectors, building on what has been achieved in previous years. It is therefore vital that best use is made of the resources available. To this end the Government has consulted on comparative funding levels for similar qualifications across the 16-19 routes, and on the principles which should govern the funding of 16-19 learning. Appropriate new funding arrangements to underpin the Learning Credits entitlement outlined in Chapter 3 are essential to improving provider performance and to ensuring value for money for the taxpayer.

    COMPARISONS OF FUNDING COSTS

    7.4 In July 1996 the Government published a consultation document 'Funding 16-19 Education and Training: Towards Convergence' (DfEE) which sought views on its analysis of the relative average national public funding for achievement of similar qualifications across the 16-19 sectors. This suggested that:

    • there is little difference between school sixth forms and FE sector colleges in the average public funding for each young person who successfully completes a 3 A level course
    • average public funding levels for vocational qualifications are considerably lower for those which attract significant employer contributions (in particular NVQ3s) , and which are mainly delivered through the work-based route, than for vocational education qualifications (for example, Advanced GNVQs) delivered through full-time education in the FE sector and which do not attract employer contributions to the same degree
    • funding levels for providers vary at least as much within sectors as between them, because of the different ways the various funding systems operate.


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    CONSULTATION ON COMPARISONS OF PUBLIC FUNDING FOR 16-19 LEARNING IN DIFFERENT SECTORS

    Purpose of the consultation
    • To seek views on the accuracy of the funding comparisons, ideas on how the. analysis could be improved for future years, and suggestions for explaining the differences in funding levels between routes.

    Key points from the consultation

    • The comparisons have been substantially validated. But
      • there is no single 'right' basis for comparison: differences in prior attainment levels, the treatment of capital costs and the extent of enrichment activities, for example, all have a bearing on the estimated funding costs
      • comparisons of average funding costs across routes based on a different qualifications package might present a different picture
      • more information on the extent of employer contributions would be needed for a better understanding of resourcing levels for the work-based training route.

    Agreed action

    • The Government will reflect these concerns by publishing, in early 1997, updated j funding comparisons for 1995-96 on a number of different bases
    • The Government is undertaking further work to examine the relative funding costs of 16-19 provision at local level and the impact this has on competition at that level
    • The Government will look further at value added measures of Level 3 attainment to take account of prior achievement
    • In early 1997 the Department will publish further research to measure gross employer contributions to work-based training costs.

    7.5 The findings of the consultation have confirmed the Government's view that the priority area for attention should be the development of common funding principles across the various funding systems for 16-19 learning.

    COMMON FUNDING PRINCIPLES

    7.6 The consultation exercise also sought views on common funding principles, drawn from successful experience in individual sectors, which might be applied to all Government-supported 16-19 learning. As the Secretary of State for Education and Employment said in her foreword to the consultation document, the Government" is committed to bringing about greater convergence in these funding arrangements - to create a more level playing field".


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    TOWARDS CONVERGENCE OF COMMON FUNDING PRINCIPLES

    Purpose of the consultation
    • To seek views on the convergence of the principles underlying Government funding in England for the education and training of 16-19 year olds in maintained school sixth forms, FE sector colleges and work-based training.

    Key points from the consultation

    • There was wide agreement that:
      • funding should encourage: best practices in recruitment; the retention of learners; and high levels of achievement
      • the system of funding should foster fair competition between providers
      • the routes towards convergence of funding principles and the timetable for achieving this would vary between sectors
      • changes should reflect the outcomes of the Dearing review of 16-19 qualifications.

    Agreed action

    • The Government will build on best practice in each sector, and work with its partners to introduce new arrangements early in the next Parliament in line with agreed common principles for funding 16-19 learning
    • These principles are that funding arrangements should support provider commitment to best recruitment practices, provide continuing support for the costs of programme delivery, and reward successful attainment. This work will take account of the Government's commitment to securing continuous improvements in the efficiency of providers, and to building on best practice in securing value for money.
    • THE KEY PRINCIPLES

      7.7 The aim of linking funding to best recruitment practices is to encourage providers to offer high quality initial assessment, placement and guidance to help young people make best use of their Learning Credits entitlement. This will reduce the numbers who later drop out of programmes which prove unsuitable for them.

      7.8 Funding for programme delivery costs should not distort the pattern of provision as determined by informed choices by young people and employers. In particular:

      • the majority of provider funding should be linked to participation, counted with reasonable frequency


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      • there should be recognition that some programmes of learning demand a higher level of resources than others: funding arrangements for Modern Apprenticeships and key skills acquisition in colleges, for example, already recognise the additional costs to providers of effective introduction and development.

      7.9 The Government also believes that, in order to focus providers' attention on attainment, there should be an output-related funding element in all 16-19 learning. Since learners proceed at differing paces and have different levels of prior attainment, the Government would wish to see, over time, this element of funding reflecting the value that the learning process has added for individual learners. But, as existing approaches to output-related funding demonstrate, its introduction is not dependent on value added.

      TOWARDS CONVERGENCE OF PRINCIPLES

      7.10 The approach to implementing these common principles, and the timing, will vary between school sixth forms, FE sector colleges and Government-supported training. Some progress has already been made. More is planned. As Learning Credits are introduced, the importance of fair competition will increase: otherwise, young people's choices may be distorted and the increased responsiveness of providers undermined.

      7.11 The funding principles outlined above can be found in substantial measure in the arrangements for funding FE sector colleges. The Government looks to the current fundamental review of funding being undertaken by the FEFC to consolidate and build on the application of these principles.

      7.12 Following consultation with TECs, the Government has decided to introduce new funding arrangements for Government-supported training in 1997-98. These will be based on the common funding principles and will reduce costs and administrative burdens. The Government will expect TECs to ensure that the benefits of the new arrangements are passed on in their own funding arrangements with their providers. In addition, the negotiation ofTEC Business Plans will ensure that full account is taken of the need for training relevant to local labour market needs and of the need to ensure that suitable opportunities are available for young people with special needs.

      7.13 Sixth form funding arrangements already reward successful recruitment. Funding is predominantly linked to pupil numbers, and young people choose whether or not to attend available sixth forms, informed by a range of information, including performance tables. The Government will build on these arrangements to reflect the common funding principles, particularly that relating to attainment. It will do so in a way which does not impose unnecessary new administrative burdens on schools, and is consistent with the proposals on the funding of both LEA and GrantMaintained schools set out in the June 1996 White Paper, 'Self-Government for Schools' (HMSO Cm 3315). In order to inform these proposals, the


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      Government proposes, in Spring 1997, to invite interested LEAs and the Funding Agency for Schools to develop, test and evaluate new approaches for funding 16-19 year olds in school sixth forms, including arrangements for an element of output-related funding.

      Capital funding

      7.14 Capital needs and funding methods vary considerably between schools, colleges and training providers for policy and historical reasons. The same is true of capital stock. The private sector has begun to play an increasing role in capital provision through Challenge and other matched funding in those sectors traditionally reliant on public capital grant. The Private Finance Initiative (PFI) allows further freedoms to providers to benefit from private sector finance and expertise, and PFI solutions will play an increasing role.

      7.15 It is an important principle that capital funding arrangements should not distort the ability of providers to respond to student preferences, and capital costs should be borne by competing providers in such a way as to promote fair competition and value for money. The Government is studying ways of placing the treatment of capital costs on a more consistent basis, and one promising approach which is under active consideration is to introduce capital charging. In the light of the diversity of capital funding mechanisms involving both private and public sectors, this could be a useful way of supporting the Government's wider objectives of convergence in funding arrangements.




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      CHAPTER 8: A Challenge to Action

      KEY POINTS
      • The Government has set out its vision, priorities, and plans for action with its key partners. It has new proposals to help drive towards the National Targets. It challenges young people - and employers and providers - to assess their own performance in key areas and commit themselves to excellence in 14-19 learning.

      8.1 In this White Paper the Government has set out its vision for 14-19 learning, its priorities, and its plans for action with its key partners to address these priorities. Its enduring commitment to extending personal choice, empowering young people and their parents, providing more information and demanding higher standards will continue to support action to make the vision a reality. But the action to achieve the success we need rests principally with young people themselves, and with those who teach, train, employ and advise them. To build on the proposals in this White Paper the Government is therefore laying down a challenge to action to employers, providers and young people.

      8.2 As part of this challenge the Government will offer every support to those with whom the achievement of the National Targets rests. In particular it will:

      • act to encourage the creation of local Targets Task Forces led by TECs. These will improve local understanding of the value of National Targets achievement and promote the involvement of business; bring together those who can take action to contribute to achievement of the National Targets; and develop a local action plan
      • expect TECs to set out clearly in their Business Plans what they will do locally to promote achievement of the National Targets. In agreeing funding for individual TECs, Government Offices will take account of the overall impact of the Business Plan towards the achievement of the National Targets
      • require schools to set targets for year on year improvements (subject to the passage of the necessary legislation). The Government is also proposing that from 1997 FE sector colleges set annual targets for improving their qualifications achievements, and that there should be an additional college performance indicator for students' post-course destinations.


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      A CHALLENGE TO EMPLOYERS

      8.3 Employers are key beneficiaries of 14-19 learning. They have a corresponding responsibility to contribute to its improvement and success. The Government challenges all employers to review how they support young people's success in learning, and to consider the business benefits of particular forms of investment, for example as part of an overall approach leading to Investors in People. It invites them to commit themselves publicly to the actions they believe they are best placed to take. These may include:

      • support for TECs as the Government's key private sector partner at local level
      • direct investment in improving the skills of young people, for example through Modern Apprenticeships and National Traineeships, as part of their strategy for meeting their skill needs
      • recognising in their recruitment the key skills young people have developed and evidence of their attainment, including entries in the national record of achievement
      • working through Education Business Partnerships to help schools and colleges to deliver an effective work-related curriculum, for example through GNVQs
      • providing young people with opportunities for effective work experience
      • business sponsorship of specialist schools such as Technology and Language Colleges and City Technology Colleges
      • becoming members of the governing bodies of schools, FE sector colleges and careers services
      • working with FE sector colleges and TECs to identify key skill needs and to generate provision that meets those needs
      • working within industry sectors and occupational groups, including through the new National Training Organisations, to tackle common skill needs and to reform NVQs.

      8.4 Involvement in such initiatives can seem particularly difficult for small and medium-sized employers (SMEs). These difficulties are not insuperable. For example, about half of all Modern Apprentices are employed in firms of less than 200 employees; and all those involved are working to build upon that foundation by minimising the administrative work required of SMEs and by publishing a guide to Modern Apprenticeships for small and medium-sized firms.


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      A CHALLENGE TO SCHOOLS, COLLEGES AND TRAlNlNG PROVlDERS

      8.5 Compared with many countries we have an excellent, broad and diverse network of education and training providers. They have a demanding agenda to ensure that quality, achievement, and efficiency continue to rise. The Government challenges providers to identify the key areas where future innovation and improvement will be vital and benchmark themselves against the standards of the best. These key areas may include the following:

      • reaching those 14-19 year olds not in learning and in particular those young people not continuing with education or training after compulsory schooling
      • ensuring all learners achieve a good standard in basic skills
      • addressing the needs and capabilities of those with learning difficulties or disabilities, in collaboration with other local agencies and providers
      • improving recruitment practices and continuing support and guidance in order to increase completion and success rates, including through use of the new national record of achievement
      • developing provision to meet the recommendations of Sir Ron Dearing's review of 16-19 qualifications, particularly in relation to breadth and key skills
      • focusing on the National Targets by setting their own internal targets and by working with other partners and providers in setting local targets and monitoring progress
      • working closely with employers, TECs and the Careers Service to ensure that provision improves the employability of young people and meets labour market needs, and that young people are helped to make realistic choices in the light of information about the labour market
      • identifying and maximising private sector sources of funding such as the Private Finance Initiative and employer contributions
      • developing their capacity for improving their own quality and performance through internal review, benchmarking, target-setting, performance indicators and staff development, for example through aiming to meet the Investors in People standard
      • developing the capability to use information and learning technologies effectively.


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      A CHALLENGE TO YOUNG PEOPLE

      8.6 The idea of a single job for life is already outdated. Many of the jobs that young people now at school and college will do in the next century have not yet been invented. To equip themselves for an unpredictable and fast-changing future, young people need to get the best possible foundation from 14-19 learning. The challenge to young people is to develop:

      • the skills, knowledge and understanding needed as a basis for further learning throughout life and for work
      • the personal qualities employers look for - such as reliability, enthusiasm and perseverance
      • the key skills (for example, working with others, improving their own learning and performance) required to be adaptable in employment and to manage their own careers throughout life.

      8.7 There are many opportunities which can help young people to meet this challenge, including:

      • the new Learning Credits entitlement for young people to pursue the highest qualifications of which they are capable, up to and including Level 3, suitable to their needs and available from a range of providers
      • regular reviewing and recording of personal achievement, setting targets and planning development using a new record of achievement
      • the entitlement to continuing careers education, advice and guidance in schools and colleges and from the Careers Service
      • the entitlement to structured work experience with an employer
      • part-time employment, such as holiday and weekend jobs
      • volunteering, which can provide experience in a wide range of activities, such as helping disabled people, youth leadership, and working with charities and religious organisations
      • sport and other leisure interests or hobbies, which offer opportunities to demonstrate teamworking or leadership skills.


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      8.8 Those who advise young people - parents, teachers and careers advisers have a crucial role here. They can influence the scope of young people's career thinking, the options they are willing to explore and the level of their aspirations. Parents, however, remain the biggest influence on young people. They need to understand the new qualifications, how young people can progress into jobs or further learning, and the changing state of the labour market.

      8.9 We want young people, parents, teachers and careers advisers to work together so that all our 14-19 year olds make the most of the opportunities available to them and secure the foundation they need for employment and learning through life. Then young people will be able to take their place in society as mature adults, contributing fully to the community and to economic prosperity.





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      Relevant publications

      'Education and Training for the 21st Century', HMSO (Cm 1536) May 1991 'Competitiveness: Forging Ahead', HMSO (Cm 2867) May 1995

      'Consultation document on the future funding arrangements for Youth Training and Modern Apprenticeships from April 1996', DfEE October 1995

      'The GNVQ Assessment Review': final report of the review group chaired by Dr John Capey, November 1995

      'Effective sixth forms': a report from the Office of Her Majesty's Inspector of Schools, HMSO January 1996

      'Developing Responsiveness: College-Employer Interaction', The Institute for Employment Studies, January 1996

      'Review of 100 NVQs and SVQs': a report submitted to the Department for Education and Employment by Gordon Beaumont, January 1996

      'The Annual Report of Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Schools: Standards and Quality in Education 1995-96', HMSO February 1996

      'Review of Qualifications for 16-19 Year Olds': full report (by Sir Ron Dearing), SCM March 1996

      'Departmental Report 1996: Department for Education and Employment and Office for Standards in Education', HMSO (Cm 3210) March 1996

      'Equipping Young People for Working Life: a consultative document on improving employability through the 14-16 curriculum', DfEE April 1996

      'National Funding for GM Schools: A Discussion Paper', DfEE May 1996

      'Competitiveness: Creating the enterprise centre of Europe', HMSO (Cm 3300) June 1996

      'Competitiveness Occasional Paper - The Skills Audit: A Report from an Interdepartmental Group: A Summary', DfEE and Cabinet Office, June 1996

      'Self-Government for Schools', HMSO (Cm 3315) June 1996

      'Maximising Potential: New Options for Learning after 16', DfEE July 1996

      'Funding 16-19 Education and Training: Towards Convergence', DfEE July 1996

      'Skills for 2000': report on progress towards the National Targets for Education and Training, National Advisory Council for Education and Training Targets July 1996

      'Strengthening Self-Assessment and Introducing an External Inspection Regime in Government Funded Training: A Consultation Paper', DfEE August 1996

      'The Careers Service Annual Report 1995-96', DfEE September 1996

      'Inclusive Learning: Report of the Learning Difficulties and/or Disabilities Committee', The Further Education Funding Council (England), HMSO September 1996

      'Choice and Opportunity - a learning future for 14-19 year olds', DfEE September 1996

      'Quality and Standards in Further Education in England': Chief Inspector's Annual Report 1995-96, Further Education Funding Council (England) October 1996

      'Part One General National Vocational Qualification Pilot Interim Report 1995-96': a report from the Office of Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Schools, SO November 1996

      'Annual Report 1995-96', The Further Education Funding Council (England) November 1996

      'A Passport to Learning: a consultation document on Learning Credits', DfEE December 1996