Kelly's FE policy criticised
Posted: 02 Nov 2006 @ 00:00
AN interfaith further-education forum, which includes Church of England
representatives, has criticised government proposals on further education,
suggesting that they ignore the moral and spiritual needs of young people
taking vocational courses in further-education colleges.
A statement on White Papers on Education and Skills 2005, sent to the
Secretary of State for Education and Skills, Ruth Kelly, last week, is the
first interfaith comment of its kind. It says that all 16-19 institutions, both
schools and FE colleges, should have an equal duty to provide for the
spiritual, moral, social, and cultural development of all students. It also
argues that the Government's proposals for FE students are too narrow, and lack
challenge and stretch.
"With 43 per cent of young people in FE colleges, it smacks of residual
class divisions for these (mainly vocational) students to continue to be
excluded from such entitlement, especially in a period when not all families
and neighbourhoods can yet demonstrate the capacity to support the development
of a clear set of values," it says.
The statement questions whether the detail in the Government's proposals for
14-19-year-olds matches its rhetoric on breadth of learning for all students.
It asks whether the proposals as they stand can achieve parity of esteem and
quality between academic and vocational routes. "If they are to contribute to
society to their full potential, vocational students need opportunities to
grapple with wider ethical and cultural implications of their chosen fields on
Alan Murray, the Churches' national adviser on further education, said the
Churches were strengthening their commitment to young people in further
education. A five-year strategy on FE will be presented to General Synod next
February and subsequently to the Methodist Conference and the Free Church