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LEI Letter to SoS for Education Bridget Phillipson MP - The future of lifelong learning

On 11th July, our Executive Director, Dr Marius Ostrowski, wrote to the Secretary of State for Education Bridget Phillipson MP, relaying what - in our view - ought to be the Government's immediate priorities around Lifelong Learning:


  • Implement the Lifelong Learning Entitlement by 2026, and develop it into a co-investment system for lifelong learning that combines contributions from learners, businesses, and government.

  • Create a digital individual learner account, and introduce Lifelong Learning Pathways for all subjects at levels 1–8.

  • Create an Institute for British Productivity to oversee Regional Skills Improvement Plans and regional Skills Observatories, with business, trade union, education provider, learner, and community representatives.

  • Introduce high-density business Skills and Innovation Hub clusters, and Skills Academies to foster curriculum co-design and industry-expert teaching.

  • Create the position of a Minister for Lifelong Learning with cross-departmental responsibilities in education, business, and innovation.


You can read the full letter below:



Dear Secretary of State,


RE: The future of lifelong learning


 

Many congratulations on your recent election victory in Houghton and Sunderland South, and your appointment as Secretary of State for Education and Minister for Women and Equalities. We would like to welcome you to the Department of Education on behalf of the Lifelong Education Institute, the UK’s leading policy research, consultancy, and advocacy body focused on post-16 learning and upskilling. Our purpose is to champion lifelong learning, and to help further and higher education institutions meet the upskilling and reskilling needs of the UK’s adult population, in order to foster economic growth and productivity.


There is still much to be done to ensure that our education system continues to head in the right direction, and stability at the policy helm is what the sector needs most at this time. The challenge for the tertiary education sector will be to secure a more sustainable funding settlement for bachelor degrees, while pivoting towards a newly rejuvenated adult learning market. It is imperative that the new Government builds on its predecessor’s activity, above all by reforming the lifelong learning entitlement to include grants for learner maintenance as well as tuition, and by making the most of new opportunities in learning technology and modular course design.


On our part, we have been advancing our thinking in this space, with events and papers which advocate for deeper integration of lifelong learning in further and higher education, aiming towards a renewed learning approach that can benefit a broader cross-section of society. We have also been conducting research around key strategic sectors, and the skills pathways that they need to implement in order to offer better opportunities for UK learners, and to attain higher, sustainable, growth.


During the election campaign we published a Manifesto for Lifelong Education, containing a number of proposals for skills and lifelong learning policy which we hope your new government will embrace. We have summarised the immediate priorities below.

 

We hope that you will work with us to promote lifelong learning as a key way to unlock opportunities for each member of society, at every age and career stage.


We would welcome an opportunity to meet with you and your team to further elaborate on our work and research up to now, and the ideas that we have developed to advance lifelong learning across the UK.


We look forward to hearing from you.

 


Yours sincerely,

 


Dr Marius Ostrowski Executive Director Lifelong Education Institute

 


Immediate priorities for lifelong education:

  • Implement the Lifelong Learning Entitlement by 2026, and develop it into a co-investment system for lifelong learning that combines contributions from learners, businesses, and government.

  • Create a digital individual learner account, and introduce Lifelong Learning Pathways for all subjects at levels 1–8.

  • Create an Institute for British Productivity to oversee Regional Skills Improvement Plans and regional Skills Observatories, with business, trade union, education provider, learner, and community representatives.

  • Introduce high-density business Skills and Innovation Hub clusters, and Skills Academies to foster curriculum co-design and industry-expert teaching.

  • Create the position of a Minister for Lifelong Learning with cross-departmental responsibilities in education, business, and innovation.

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