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Parliament to debate 16 to 19s

The National Commission on Education's report on reforming post-school learning is to be debated at a major parliamentary inquiry into 16 to 19 provision.

The report, Learning to Succeed After 16*, (THES, March 17) calls for a unified qualifications framework, greater regional educational governance and an overhaul of student financial support. At its launch last Friday, Matthew Hamlyn, clerk of the House of Commons education committee, said it would release the terms of reference for its own inquiry into post-16 provision.

Mr Hamlyn and Bryan Davies, Labour shadow further and higher education minister were present as commission director Sir John Cassels presented its scheme for a unified General Education Diploma. They heard commission member Helena Kennedy QC, chancellor of Oxford Brookes University, call for wholesale change in the emphasis of Government support for learners.

Ms Kennedy, who has been chosen to chair the Further Education Funding Council's committee on widening access cited the case of a student on a part-time course who lost his benefit because the DSS decided he was more committed to the course than to finding employment.

*full text on THES Internet Service gopher.timeshigher.newsint.co.uk

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