'The post-18 review of education and funding: a review of a lifetime' is published by the Campaign for Learning and NCFE. It comprises opinion pieces from six leading thinkers and commentators on post-18 education and skills.

Mark Curnock Cook, John Widdowson, Susan Pember, Stewart Segal, Mark Corney and Mick Fletcher cover a different perspective of post-18 education and each offer four recommendations including a 'must do' policy the author believes would create a fair and balanced system, so that adults of all ages and skill levels can learn, up-skill and retrain.

The articles are: 

  • Mary Curnock Cook: Time to disrupt the three-year residential degree
  • John Widdowson: What about adults?
  • Susan Pember: Put adult learners - and future learners - in the driving seat
  • Stewart Segal: More apprenticeships for young people and young adults
  • Mark Corney: Fair funding for post-18 education and skills
  • Mick Fletcher: Don't worry about parity of esteem: esteem is enough

Authors Must Do recommendations

Mary Curnock Cook: Introduce a system of credit based funding
The government should introduce a system of credit based funding linked to credit accumulation and transfer. This would make it easier for providers to design and deliver radically new and student-friendly models of higher education. Ideally, the same approach should also apply to adult further education as well as higher education at all levels.

John Widdowson: Foster retraining at Level 4-6 through part-time fee loans
The government must recognise that part-time study in higher education is an essential part of the educational landscape and critical to adult reskilling. Fee loans should be made available to enable adults to achieve a second Level 4, 5 or 6 where that second qualification is part of a career plan.

Susan Pember: Create a learner-led post-18 funding system
The government should create a learner-led post-18 funding system that invests in all adults equally and puts learners and future learners in the driving seat through an equal lifetime entitlement.

Stewart Segal: Increase financial incentives for apprentices aged 16-24
The government should increase financial incentives for employers to recruit young people and young adults aged 16-24. The current at rate incentive paid to employers should be increased by setting it as a percentage of total funding and extended to cover 19-24 year olds as well as 16-18 year olds. Additionally, employers with up to 250 employees taking on 19-24 year olds should be exempt from making co-contributions.

Mark Corney: Introduce maintenance loans for 19-24 year olds on first Level 3 courses
The cost of achieving a first full Level 3 is free to 19-24 year olds studying full-time or part-time. Participation is stymied because access is restricted to small budget, low-value and uncertain maintenance grants. To create a step change in participation by 19-24 year olds on full-time T-levels, and full-time and part- time Access to HE, A levels and other Level 3 qualifications, a national system of maintenance loans should be introduced.

Mick Fletcher: Reinstate the 100% funding rate for 18 year old FE students
The government should end the anomalies in funding between the FE and HE sectors, starting with the cut in funding rates for 18 year olds on courses Level 3 and below - a policy nely targeted on the less advantaged. After all, 18 year olds are adults. The government should also announce a review of 16-18 education and funding.

Read the full paper