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In February of 2021, former Universities Minister the Rt. Hon. Chris Skidmore MP, launched the Lifelong Education Commission, to recommend how the multiple and varied barriers to lifelong learning can be removed, what future investment is needed to support this, and what regulatory change is needed to ensure the maximum possible flexibility that will benefit learners and deliver on the promise of a whole system change for education post-18.
The Commission focussed on how post-18 education and skills ought to be designed, so that both Higher and Further Education institutions are valued, but also how the individual learner can be better empowered to make decisions and undertake their learning.
Through its run, the Commission produced several important research outputs, published a skills and levelling-up manifesto, worked with Chris Skidmore to table amendments to the Skills and Post-16 Education Bill, submitted evidence to DfE's Lifelong Loan Entitlement consultation, and more.
On 1st April 2023, the Commission transformed into the Lifelong Education Institute, becoming a permanent fixture of the Education and Skills space, fostering radical policy thinking and advancing the debate on the most important topics. Chris Skidmore MP stepped down from his role as Chair, to focus on his work on Net Zero, and Dame Ann Limb DBE DL became the new Chair of the Institute.
Governance and Funding
The Lifelong Education Institute's Secretariat is being hosted by the Public Policy ThinkTank ResPublica.
The Institute gets its strategic direction by its Advisory Board, which is comprised by prominent and forward-thinking figures of the Education and Skills space.
In addition, the Institute has asked political figures to form a Board of Patrons, who will advise on the current political environment, and help by progressing the Institute's positions in Whitehall.
The Institute wishes to remain fully independent and thus receives no Government funding, nor is associated with individual donors. The Institute's funding is solely based on organisational Membership and its associated fees. Research reports and projects are further funded by its Members, upon their discretion.