A team of 16 education experts have joined Labour’s lifelong learning commission.
Among the new commissioners are former education secretary Estelle Morries, former Association of Colleges chair Carole Stott, managing director of City and Guilds Kirstie Donnelly, and FE Week contributor professor Ewart Keep.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn will officially launch the commission, which will develop his party’s policy of free education “from cradle to grave” in its proposed National Education Service, today at the Manufacturers’ Conference in London.
“Its task is to devise an inclusive system of adult education to be implemented by the next Labour government that will transform the lives of millions and reskill our economy,” he will say.
“The commission will make detailed proposals on how to integrate qualifications, introduce a credits system to make qualifications transferable and make it as easy as possible for people to pick up or pause their studies at times that work for them.”
The commission will carry out work on funding models that would “ensure that education is free at the point of use for all those who need it”.
It will operate independently, but with regular input from shadow education secretary Angela Rayner, and shadow skills minister Gordon Marsden.
Mr Marsden told FE Week that for “too long” England’s education system has had “silos in different areas, particularly if we’re talking about older learners”.
“They need to have certainty they can get on and off the skills escalator as and when they need it,” he said.
“We don’t know what jobs we’re going to have in the next ten years, but we know a lot more generic skills will be required.
“We are looking at plans for an eco-system that will last ten, 15 years. Government are doing short term policies such as the three million apprenticeships target by 2020. Our approach is much more holistic.”
Mr Marsden said the lifelong learning commission will formally meet every three to four weeks and sub-groups will be set up to tackle more specific issues.
The commission’s work will not “drag on” for two to three years like a Royal Commission, he added.
Membership of Labour’s lifelong learning commission:
Co-Chair – Estelle Morris, former education secretary
Co-chair – Dave Ward, general secretary, Communication Workers Union
Graeme Atherton – Director of the National Education Opportunities Network
Joyce Black – Assistant Director, R&D, Learning and Work Institute
Amatey Doku – Vice President Higher Education, National Union of Students
Kirstie Donnelly – Managing Director, City and Guilds
Vicky Duckworth – Professor in Education, Edge Hill University
Alison Fuller – Professor – Vocational Education and Work, UCL
Ewart Keep – Director of Centre for Skills, Knowledge and Organisational Performance, Oxford University
Mary Kellett – Vice Chancellor, Open University
David Latchman – Master of Birkbeck
Seamus Nevin – Chief Economist, EEF
Dave Phoenix – Vice Chancellor, London South Bank University
Carole Stott – Former Chair of the Board and Trust, Association of Colleges
Matt Waddup – National Head Of Policy & Campaigns – University and College Union
Tom Wilson – Chair of UFI, Former Head of Unionlearn