Surprises in store for post-16s

May 29, 1998

Alan Thomson explains what the government's comprehensive spending review could offer further and higher education

TREASURY adviser Paul Gregg believes that further and higher education will be winners in this summer's comprehensive spending review. But Mr Gregg, a member of the Council of Economic Advisers and a senior research fellow at the London School of Economics, believes that the post-16 package may surprise people.

He hopes that the government will direct help towards the 15 to 20 per cent of the population alienated from education by having been failed by the school system.

The social and economic benefits of increasing educational participation among this group would be significant and attractive to a government committed to tackling causes as well as symptoms.

"My guess is that there will be more money going into the (education) department over and above that coming from higher education (fees and loans). But I do not see higher education as being the first priority. Further education is traditionally the access point for the lower end of the ability range and training links in there as well. Further education is therefore more likely to get first call on extra resources."

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