The government has announced what they have called a “lifetime skills guarantee” that would offer a fully funded college course to all people over 18 in England without an A-level or equivalent qualification.
Only people aged under 23 qualify for a fully-funded qualification at this level at the present time.
The announcement comes against the back-drop of impending job losses from the pandemic.
The commitment will be paid for under an already-announced £2.5bn boost to England’s National Skills Fund coming into effect next April.
A list of eligible subject / courses will be released next month – those valued by employers.
There is anecdotal evidence from our network that parents who are appealing in-year applications made over the summer may be facing long delays in having those appeals heard in many areas of the country.
Usually an appeal would be heard within 4-6 weeks of its submission but some councils have unofficially advised parents that an appeal submitted in September may not be heard until November or December.
The primary reason for the delays has been the impact of CV-19 on the school admissions process, with many admissions team closed to in-year applications for much of the summer term.
There is also an issue in convening the appeals panels as face-to-face meetings are still not taking place in many areas.
The OECD (https://www.oecd.org/unitedkingdom) has estimated that school closures in the UK could mean that GDP takes a 1.5% hit for the rest of the century.
Although another example of “headlining” it does show why governments, not just in the UK but around the world, are so keen to keep schools open, especially in the difficult Autumn / Winter period.
The new school year has begun today in England and Wales, with schools already open in Scotland and Northern Ireland.
All schools are reopening to all pupils – albeit with special CV-19 precautions in place.
More to follow as the Autumn term unfolds.