Clause 5

Part of Further Education and Training Bill [Lords] – in a Public Bill Committee at 12:00 pm on 12th June 2007.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Phil Hope Phil Hope Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Skills), Department for Education and Skills 12:00 pm, 12th June 2007

Without wishing to prolong this debate too far, and to stay with the point of the clause, the issue here is progression. What opportunities at alocal level, whether via employment or through community—doing a 10-year college course or perhaps doing something in the local library or through LearnDirect; there are many other routes to learning—allow people to progress? Not just to take a course, and then another, and another, and go round and round in circles, not getting further forward: what can we do to ensure that the vision at a local level generally offers progression for individuals?

The hon. Gentleman is right to say that that is not a decision that can be made in Whitehall; it has to be made at a local level by local providers where, through our rigorous emphasis on quality, we are able to make a judgment at a local level that that is a course that helps individuals to start learning and to make progress, as opposed to a circular, revolving door of course after course that does not give them the needs to move into a job or to improve their lives or skills as parents as members of the community.

That quality issue is what the hon. Gentleman is really getting at. Are we making sure that, as we drive forward our priorities, as we deliver literacy, numeracy courses, level 2 qualifications, and courses in the community to engage people for the first time, we are doing so by funding those course providers who are providing the best in terms of quality to allow people to progress? That is the point that the hon. Gentleman made earlier about the decline. We do not want to put Government and public resources into courses that are short, that do not give people progression, that do not give people qualifications, and do not provide what the hon. Gentleman asks for.