10 June, 2010
David Docherty at Queen’s Speech Forum
David today took part in the Skills, Graduates and Science debate at the Queen’s Speech Forum alongside John Hayes MP and Pat Bacon, Association of Colleges.
John Hayes, Minister of State for Further Education, Skills and Lifelong Learning, stated that “further and higher education are public services, quite as essential in their own way to maintaining our way of life as the NHS or the police force”. He went on to say:
“Like other parts of the public sector, the previous government borrowed and spent billions on post-compulsory education. But much of this was wasted. Spending has risen far quicker than performance. And all too often, extra money has been spent not on improving the quality of teaching and learning, but on driving the system from the centre.”
As part of the panel, David probed John about the relevance of the Leitch report to the new coalition government. John said that “Leitch was useful and is useful – it elevated skills up the agenda and made a case as to why skills matter”.
Picking up on a point raised previously by Pat Bacon, David then asked about sectoral focus with John replying that they need to enforce a sector approach and that we “need to ensure that the employer voice is channelled through a conduit that what we teach and test is relevant to current economic needs”.
Following John’s speech David remarked that he had been both ‘intrigued and heartened by John Hayes and Francis Maude’ who had spoken earlier in the day.
David went on to state that ‘there is a massive demand for HE and that it is unmet’ and asked the open question of whether ‘the government will meet this for the science and skills base’.
David pointed out that people that have been through university are known to have more social capacity and linked this back to the Conservatives Big Society approach. David also stated that ‘we need more experts across the board’ and that ‘businesses want more experts’.
CIHE were also tweeting throughout the event – if you are not already following us please do so here.