FE Funding, Brexit and Social Mobility

Claire talks to Tom Bewick for the FE News ‘Skills World Live’ show to discuss further education funding, social mobility, the over-emphasis on qualifications and Brexit.

Do you go along with this idea that FE has always been a poor relation in our education system?

Claire Fox: Well, there’s always been that kind of Cinderella reputation. But actually, when I was teaching in FE. God knows it wasn’t perfect, but there was a sort of vibrancy. Apart from anything else, because it gave a very wide range of provision.

So, there were all sorts of people who were studying at further education. I taught special needs students for a time, I taught a students who were expelled from local schools. In other words, it acted as an alternative provision for them doing an English GCSE.

Then of course I taught people who were doing vocational courses, I taught them English and gave them learning support. Then I taught GCSE and A level as well, and access of course.

So, there was a whole wide range of ways in which further education did allow a lot of people, who wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity, a way in to maybe study academically, to have access via adult education. I started women return to work, and women return to study, all of those kind of courses.

Where people, who’ve never actually done any academic education at all for many, many years, were able to come and dip their toe in to self educate, which was very important. That wouldn’t happen now.

The full interview here.