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DEVOLUTION AND SKILLS POLICY – is any pattern emerging?

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Presentation on theme: "DEVOLUTION AND SKILLS POLICY – is any pattern emerging?"— Presentation transcript:

1 DEVOLUTION AND SKILLS POLICY – is any pattern emerging?
Ewart Keep SKOPE

2 THINGS TO BEAR IN MIND Pre-devolution, much E&T policy was already devolved and exhibiting fundamental differences – e.g. Wales and Scotland comprehensive education. N.I. – selective, England a complex and evolving mix. Scotland already had its own qualification structure, and no national curriculum, testing regime or league tables. Devolution to some extent = continuation of previous trends.

3 THINGS TO BEAR IN MIND - 2 The underlying social and economic conditions differed (and continue to differ) across the 4 UK nations (and within them). Wales = 70% English average GVA per head, almost no significant Welsh-owned and HQ’d companies, no meaningful Welsh financial sector. Demand for skills very different from England (or parts thereof – London and SE).

4 THINGS TO BEAR IN MIND - 3 In terms of £s to spend on E&T policies and institutions, the 4 nations started in a very different place. Per head of population: Scotland England Wales

5 THINGS TO BEAR IN MIND - 4 The field of E&T policy is extremely unstable – change is occurring all the time, and trends are therefore hard to discern and track. We are currently in a period of general change due to a reframing of the diagnosis of the underlying economic problems that have led to our ‘skills crisis’.

6 ISSUES OF SCALE In comparing England with Scotland, Wales and NI we need to remember that England is (population-wise) a far bigger country – 48 million, run as a unitary authority (at least on E&T policy). Scale impacts on issues such as trust and management style.

7 THE RECESSION All four UK nations now face the need to change their E&T policies and programmes to meet the issues posed by the onset of deep recession and mass unemployment. In a sense, a common threat tends to produce broadly similar responses (though from different starting points).

Underlying ideology and purpose of policy. Institutional and regulatory frameworks Culture of management and control Programmes and initiatives Oucomes

The gradual collapse of a ‘supply-led’, supply-push model. Scotland got there first – had spent a lot on E&T and started to ask where the results were. Wales – the impossibility and irrelevance of the Leitch 2020 targets. England – UKCES ‘Ambition 2020’ and a shift to an agenda around underlying demand and skill usage.

Wales – quangocide and the need for the government to deal direct with stakeholders. Scotland –powerful but shifting quangos (emergence of SDS alongside SFC) England – permanent revolution! Large quangos with no autonomy.

FEFC and TECs – LSC – YPLA and SFA ALI and Ofsted - Ofsted Also changes to QCA, quality improvement. Unstable fiefdoms based on individual ambition!

England – extremely low trust, ever more central control and dictat – massive reliance on output targets – participation rates and qualifications gained. Fear is the key! Most centralised E&T system in OECD (possibly excepting Singapore) Scotland – higher trust, more autonomy, much less micro-management by the centre. Issues of scale here.

England – raising the learning age. Scotland and Wales decline (strongly) to follow. England – Train to Gain. Scotland and Wales decline to follow. England – endorses Leitch targets. Scotland and Wales decline to follow.

14 OUTCOMES Outcome levels (as expressed by proportions of the workforce with particular levels of qualification) have differed between the countries, as do current trends. There are big variations within countries – by locality and socio-economic group. Scotland is ahead on post-compulsory participation and achievement, but as the Scottish Government has noted, this has not fed through into superior economic performance.

15 IS THERE A WINNER? By spending a lot of money, Scotland has produced a higher level of outputs (participation and achievement), plus has funded more non-work-related lifelong learning. BUT, the economic effects of this are hard to find. In terms of levels of trust – Scotland does better than England. Identifying a winner depends on your definition and measure(s) of success!!!!!

16 THE EMERGENCE OF UKCES UKCES as a UK-wide internalised policy think tank and policy exchange mechanism. A policy ‘space’ outside government control. Major challenge for English policy makers. A clearing house/transmission mechanism for non-English policy concepts. A UK-wide research agenda. A UK-wide regulator and funder (of the SSCs)

17 FUTURE ISSUES Public spending cuts and their impact on national systems. Scottish FE and HE used to lots of £s. Wales impoverished already. Issues of scale and sustainability – e.g. STEM in Wales. Ongoing institutional instability in England and the impact of the elections. The emergence of closer linkages between economic development policy and E&T policy around skill demand and usage.

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