29 March 2011
Colleges Welcome Far-Reaching Report
ColegauCymru / CollegesWales welcomes the publication of the Independent Task and Finish Group Report on The Structure of Education Services in Wales (the Thomas Review).
The Report is long, thorough and far-reaching. It considers schools, further education, work-based learning, and adult and community learning provision. It assesses ‘who does what where’ and calls for greater clarity from the Welsh Assembly Government on the mission of education and its providers. A number of its key concerns chime with the issues highlighted in ColegauCymru’s manifesto for the forthcoming National Assembly for Wales elections.
The Report calls on schools and colleges to work more closely together to ensure learners aged 14-19 are offered ‘real opportunity and choice’. It commends FE colleges for achieving beyond the quality targets that the Welsh Assembly Government set for the sector, and believes that colleges are willing and able to deliver even for 14-19 year olds if given the opportunity. It says:
- ‘FE needs to show its talent, its capacity and capability to demonstrate on a larger public canvas what it can and does do for post 14 and post 16 learners in collaboration with educational providers.’
The Report also recognises the significant mergers that have already taken place between colleges and the innovative collaborations currently underway between colleges and universities, and calls for this trend to continue.
Turning to adult learners and the workforce, the Report identifies the FE sector as a ‘significant and valuable partner’ in economic development and a ‘critical component in the engine of prosperity’ which must be sustained, together with colleges’ work in delivering tailor-made programmes for business.
Chief Executive of ColegauCymru / CollegesWales, John Graystone, said: “The Report is very carefully researched and its recommendations are backed with clear evidence. I am delighted that the Report recognises the high quality and ‘dynamism’ that exists in FE colleges and that it recommends that colleges be given greater opportunities to share good practice and develop solutions with wider audiences.
“The Report calls for a focus on literacy and numeracy (basic skills) and notes that colleges have to divert significant public resource on raising the basic skills levels of new students. This chimes with the ColegauCymru manifesto published in advance of the National Assembly for Wales elections.
“I am also pleased that the Report recognises that FE colleges are keen to collaborate with others for the benefit of learners and that it notes the determinism within the FE sector to develop more opportunities for learning through the medium of Welsh.”
Contact: Sylvia Davies on 029 2052 8384 or 07968 771913.
Notes to editors:
1. ColegauCymru / CollegesWales is the new name for fforwm. It is a national educational charity that represents all 21 further education (FE) colleges and institutions in Wales. Its mission is to raise the profile of further education with key decision-makers to improve opportunities for learners in Wales. For further information about ColegauCymru / CollegesWales, and the colleges it represents, visit www.colegaucymru.ac.uk or www.collegeswales.ac.uk
2. The Independent Task and Finish Group Report on The Structure of Education Services in Wales was commissioned by Leighton Andrews AM, the Welsh Assembly Government Minister for Children, Education and Lifelong Learning, in autumn 2010. The report was made public by the Minister on 29 March 2011, together with a Ministerial Statement. Further information on the Task and Finish Group, its remit and responses to its consultation are available from: http://wales.gov.uk/topics/educationandskills/publications/wagreviews/educationservicesreview/?lang=en The Report is available from: http://wales.gov.uk/docs/dcells/publications/110328structureofservicesen.pdf
3. The ColegauCymru / CollegesWales manifesto: A Manifesto for Learners: NAW elections 2011