Senior education figures condemn cuts

A number of senior and respected figures from the education and trade union worlds have signed a letter which condemns the cut to the adult education budget as ‘an act of vandalism’. The letter also says that the cuts are ‘perverse’ in an age of austerity when ‘economic growth requires a skilled population with funded opportunities for learning’.

Full text of the letter

The recent decision by the coalition government to cut the Adult Skills Budget by a staggering 24% is an act of vandalism, and an attack on democratic citizenship and equality. At the current rate of decline, publicly funded adult education may well be extinct by 2020. Adult education is in crisis, and should be nurtured as an essential part of the wider educational infrastructure, not be treated as a disposable add-on. The decision demonstrates a casual disregard by policy makers to lifelong learning’s essential role in an uncertain labour market; offering opportunities for retraining, second chances, and promoting social cohesion. In an age of austerity the decision is perverse given that economic growth requires a skilled population with funded opportunities for learning. We call upon the current administration to reverse these cuts, and for the new government to establish parity of funding for FE including investment in lifelong learning.

Professor Frank Coffield (Institute of Education, University of London), Professor Stephen J Ball (Institute of Education, University of London), Professor Ken Spours (Institute of Education, University of London), Professor Ann Hodgson (Institute of Education, University of London), Professor Lorna Unwin (Institute of Education, University of London), Professor Patrick Ainley (University of Greenwich), Professor Bill Lucas (University of Winchester), Professor James Avis (University of Huddersfield), Professor Roy Fisher (University of Huddersfield), Professor Robin Simmons (University of Huddersfield), Professor Jacky Lumby (University of Southampton), Professor Alan Tuckett (Wolverhampton University), Professor Denis Gleeson (University of Warwick), Professor Geoffrey Elliott (University of Worcester), Professor Terry Wrigley (University of Northumbria), Ann-Marie Bathmaker (Professor of Vocational and Higher Education)

Sally Hunt (UCU General Secretary), Mary Bousted (ATL General Secretary), Toni Pearce (NUS President), Dr Lynne Sedgmore CBE (Executive Director, 157 Group of FE Colleges), Toni Fazaeli (former CEO IfL), Bea Groves (former President IfL), David Powell (Director, The Education and Training Consortium, University of Huddersfield), Mike Saunders (Chair, The Education and Training Consortium Steering Committee, University of Huddersfield), Dan Taubman MBE (Visiting Research Associate at the Post 14 Centre at the Institute of Education, University of London)

Dr Kevin Orr, Dr Rob Smith, Dr Matt O’Leary, Julie Hughes, Joanne Gray, Maire Daley, Jim Crawley, Sasha Pleasance, Rob Peutrell, Joel Petrie, Rajiv Khosla, Samantha Jones, Richard Le Corney and Irene Schwab