Headlines: December 20th, 1999

David Blunkett has confirmed plans to radically overhaul post 16 learning with the creation of a new body planning and funding both schools and further education college provision.Until now, school sixth forms and colleges of further education have been subject to separate arrangements.

The new Learning and Skills Bill now brought before Parliament makes them both beneficiaries of a six billion pound pot of money, to be administered by a new Learning and Skills Council in England, and a Council for Education and Training in Wales. This should remove many of the obstacles to collaboration between schools, education authorities, and further education colleges.

The Learning and Skills Council will supersede the Further Education Funding Council and be based in its former offices in Coventry.

The new bill also brings forward new arrangements for rigorous and independent external inspection of post 16 education and training;

The Bill is on the Houses of Parliament website http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/pabills.htm