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Liberal Democrat News 05th August 2011

August 5, 2011 11:01 AM
Originally published by UK Liberal Democrats

Hughes promotes HE participation

The government Advocate for Access to Education Simon Hughes published his final report to the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister last week. The report makes over 30 recommendations to increase participation in higher education. These are directed towards schools, colleges, universities, government and regulators.
Simon believes that efforts to increase participation in universities from underrepresented groups should start as early as 10 and 11 and better careers information, advice and guidance is vital. He also recommends that the national scholarship scheme should offer scholarships to every school and college.
Simon has written this report after spending six months listening to the views of young people, teachers and parents from around the country as well as education professionals and representatives from charities, universities, trade unions, and other representative organisations.

Key recommendations are:

  1. Discussion of career options should start with 10 and 11 year olds.
  2. All secondary schools should have parent events with careers professionals and students to discuss career, education and training options.
  3. Face-to-face careers advice for all young people in schools.
  4. Students between 14 and 16 should be trained in basic financial management.
  5. Former students should work with current students to advise and answer questions about career, studies or life in general after school or college.
  6. Every school and college should be formally linked to at least one higher education institution by the end of 2011/12.
  7. Scholarships should be allocated directly to every non-fee-paying English school and college.
  8. Government should reserve scholarships for courses which are linked to employment in the region of the university after the completion of the degree course.
  9. All higher education institutions should recognise credit for coursework completed in a different HEI, allowing students to transfer and finish their degree at a different institution
  10. Higher education institutions recruiting for longer courses and the organisations associated with these professions should have special programmes aimed at widening access to these courses and arrangements for them included in their access agreements.

"There has clearly been widespread concern about future participation in higher education before and after parliament took its decision last December on the financing arrangements for English universities," said Simon. "I hope that with the publication of this report we will be able to move the debate on to the many things we can do to make sure our people have the best opportunities available to them for training, education and employment.
"The message I have heard from young people around the country is clear; we need better careers advice, starting early, and with parents as well as students given better information about going bto university.
"It is crucial that decisions about higher education are made on the basis of costs and benefits and not fees, debts and loans," stressed Simon.
"The next six months are vital and there is all to play for. With energy and imagination from all concerned, there is every reason for more people to see higher education as an opportunity which is right for them."