Association of Colleges president John Widdowson and social mobility tsar Alan Milburn to address FE issues in Parliamentary hearings

Association of Colleges president John Widdowson is due to tell MPs about how well the FE sector delivers higher education tomorrow.

He will speak on the quality of higher education in a Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) Select Committee session.

It will come a day before Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission chair Alan Milburn will share his views on FE funding in the penultimate session of the House of Lords Select Committee on Social Mobility.

The BIS committee is holding an inquiry entitled Assessing the quality of Higher Education and will hear from staff, student and sector representatives in what will be its second evidence session. A panel using metrics to assess quality will also participate in the hearing, which takes place from 9.15am.

Mr Widdowson is expected to speak as a witness from 10.40am, alongside a number of university professors and vice-chancellors. Other speakers tomorrow morning include Megan Dunn, president of the National Union of Students; Sally Hunt, general secretary of the University and College Union; and Stuart Cannell, student reviewer with the Quality Assurance Agency.

Mr Milburn will be joined in his session  the following day by Jack Feintuck, head of policy at the commission, and they will discuss any changes to the funding of FE that might improve quality outcomes for middle attainers and underserved groups.

Former Labour MP Mr Milburn became chair of the Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission in July 2012. Other topics he will address will include the work of the Commission, and how to engage with employers on youth unemployment and imbalances in the labour market.

The evidence session is due start from 10.35am, with Professor Ann Hodgson, Professor of post-compulsory education and co-director of the Centre for Post-14 Education and Work, UCL Institute of Education due to give evidence an hour later along with Professor Kevin Orr, School of Education and Professional Development, University of Huddersfield.

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