Tories call for new deal on education

PUBLISHED: 12:46 08 December 2006 | UPDATED: 19:53 01 June 2010

A NEW deal for further education has been demanded by John Hayes, MP for South Holland and the Deepings and Shadow Minister for Vocational Education. In a keynote speech hosted by the Conservative National Education Society at the House of Commons, he out

A NEW deal for further education has been demanded by John Hayes, MP for South Holland and the Deepings and Shadow Minister for Vocational Education.

In a keynote speech hosted by the Conservative National Education Society at the House of Commons, he outlined the Conservative alternative to Labour's "failure on skills" and set out five key areas to be addressed.

"Each Saturday evening millions of Britons are at home watching Strictly Come Dancing, a programme about a variety of personalities acquiring the practical skill of ballroom dancing through instruction and practice," he said.

"It's about time the education system caught up with popular sentiment, by recognising the role practical skills play in peoples' lives and national life.

Mr Hayes said a Conservative strategy would address five key areas. "First, investment in skills training," he said. "The question of what Government should spend, what business should contribute and what individuals themselves should pay. We must develop a system that is driven by the choices of learners and the economic needs of business.

"Second, meeting the needs of learners and business means breaking down the rigidity between FE/HE and schools.

"Third, for learners and employers to drive the system forward they must have confidence that vocational qualifications will meet their needs.

"Fourth, for the system to be driven by the choices of learners we need a careers service that provides learners of all ages with the information they need to make the right choices for their future.

"And fifth, we must address the missed opportunity in the FE bill to give colleges the freedom necessary to innovate and excel, to meet the needs of business and learners.

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