Students pleased with their stake

October 15, 1999

Responses to Learning to Succeed, the white paper on 16 to 19-year-olds

Students welcome the white paper's stress on coherence.

The National Union of Students is pleased about the creation of a national learning and skills council and the opportunity for feedback, consultation and representation with further education students that it allows.

But the union has reservations about the proposed split inspection arrangements between Ofsted and the Further Education Funding Council.

The FEFC inspection system, it argues, has "a range and sophistication not matched by Ofsted's pass/fail criteria" and is better fitted to the diverse students and curricula of further education.

The NUS is also worried that the white paper may have a damaging effect on student representation on boards.

While students are now represented through elected governors on college corporations, there is no assurance in the white paper that students would be represented to the same level on national and local learning and skills councils.

The union also criticises the lack of substantial proposals to improve staff pay and conditions.

Finally, while the union welcomes ending the division between so-called "schedule 2" fundable courses and unfundable "leisure" education for adults, it would like to see more attention given to level 3 qualifications.

These are crucial to the lifelong learning agenda but are not "meaningfully" discussed in the white paper, it says.

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