Simon Parkinson responds to Levelling Up White Paper

“Today’s Levelling Up White Paper is a massive missed opportunity. Rather than Levelling Up, the White Paper may see many deserving over 19s left further behind. We applaud investment in improving schools and initiatives for young adults, but we should be investing equally in those who were failed by our schools in the past (there are around 7 million working age adults who left school without achieving a Level 2 qualification and yet the new skills mission offers support to only 80,000 over several years).

“While the Department for Education champions higher qualifications and technical skills, we had looked to the Levelling Up department to offer new programmes to support those furthest from the job market and most educationally disadvantaged. Instead we hear familiar announcements about Boot Camps, which are out of reach for many without the fundamentals of Maths, English, Digital skills, or the confidence to return to formal study.

“If we’re investing in schools in areas of need, then why not also build an adult community learning centre in each town, offering a different style of adult learning, distant from traditional school and college formal education where many failed. These centres would offer an open door for all who wish to restart their learning journey. Now that really would be levelling up. And, I don’t think we need to wait for a ‘Future Skills Unit’ to tell us this is the right thing to do now.”