The British Academy responds to the government's higher and further education announcements

21 Jan 2021

The British Academy has today responded to a package of government announcements on higher and further education.

The announcements include the Department for Education’s interim response to the Augar Review of post-18 education and funding; the Skills for Jobs white paper, which outlines reforms to the post-16 education and training system and a new lifelong learning scheme designed to help boost skills and get more people into work; and the publication of the Pearce Review of the Teaching Excellence and Student Outcomes Framework.

Professor Simon Swain FBA, Vice-President for Research, said:

“The government has today announced a suite of initiatives aimed at addressing many of the challenges currently facing higher and further education. While there is much to digest, we welcome the confirmation of the new Lifelong Learning Guarantee, which will enable people to access funding across higher and further education throughout their lifetime. Providing new opportunities for upskilling will be essential to the nation’s post-pandemic recovery and will support the government’s objective to address regional inequalities across the UK.

“In taking forward these reforms, we encourage the government to recognise the value of a full range of skills, including those gained particularly through the pursuit of SHAPE subjects (Social Sciences, Humanities and the Arts for People and the Economy): communication and collaboration, research and analysis, and independence and adaptability. As our report on the skills and career prospects of SHAPE graduates demonstrates, these skills and aptitudes underpin some of the fastest-growing sectors in society, including the information and communication industry and the finance sector, as well as the UK’s world-leading creative and cultural economy.

“We need an education system that provides a breadth of subject choice for all students and one that promotes strategically important but vulnerable subjects, like languages, that are vital to Britain’s economy, society and international interests. Future approaches to funding and student fees must not stand in the way of this, including meeting the costs involved in delivering subjects across the discipline range, such as archaeology and creative arts.

“We look forward to working closely with the government on the further development of these measures, including the implementation of the recommendations of the Independent (Pearce) Review of the Teaching Excellence and Student Outcomes Framework (TEF), which also makes several recommendations that chime with the Academy’s priorities.”

Contact the press office

For further information contact the Press Office on press@thebritishacademy.ac.uk  / 020 7969 5273 / 07500 010 432.

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