THE DISTINCTIVE pattern of relationships built between the further and higher education sectors in Wales has been strongly endorsed in a largely descriptive section of the Dearing report.
It firmly supports the system of two sectoral funding councils sharing a chief executive and staff and recommends that this be extended to Scotland and Northern Ireland.
The report warns that the recommendation to halt the growth of degree work in further education does not mean cutting the healthy franchised sector in Wales (Rec 67).
It says growth in part-time sub-degree vocational provision, with numbers nearly doubling in the past four years, has "fostered fruitful relationships between higher education institutions and further education colleges, which form the basis for initiatives designed to increase access to higher education and bring it closer to the work place".
The report notes that the credit-based funding applied by both councils makes a single post-16 credit system a possibility, and that the provisions of the Welsh Language Act and the need for Welsh-medium provision have cost implications that must be funded.