Help set the forward agenda for Schools and Skills

On the afternoon of 17th July Lord Lucas will chair a round table to launch a national debate on Digital Skills. Cconfirmed opening speakers include

  • Ben Mason from Global Bridge (opening up new pathways between employers and recruits in the North east),
  • David Willett, Corporate Director of the Open University (the UK’s largest degree level apprenticeship provider as well as the largest University),
  • Chris Murphy of the Highways Electrical Association (whose members are already building the 5G-ready digital infrastructures of our embryonic smart cities).

Please e-mail the Digital Policy Alliance ( [email protected] ) for a guest place if you are serious about helping set the political agenda for a Britain that develops its own talent instead of importing from overseas. There will be no public report. The meeting is being held under the Chatham House rule and will be used identify topics for the 21st Century Skills working group to address over the year ahead. The group also looks after the project portfolio which I handed over just after Easter.

The objectives include

  • stimulating discussion on meeting the demand for basic digital abilities;
  • the cross sector, professional and academic evolution of skills demand;
  • responding to the accelerating rates of change in the technologies available for identifying, delivering and assessing talent and
  • reviewing legislative and regulatory frameworks to maximise potential in creating and implementing UK/EU education and training policies.

I blogged my own views back in February . The analysis in the discussion paper may still hold good but the pressures for change have increased since. The Augar report  has pointed out the immorality (as well as inefficiency) of focussing attention on only half the population.  The changes to the teachers pension scheme  will more than wipe out the extra funding for schools and colleges promised this year and next.

Expediting the roll out of reliable full-fibre broadband will enable cloud-based education-as-service to make teachers workload but will not bridge the funding gap. There are many ways forward. I like the concept of the “community college”: doubling or trebling the school income by also providing a round-the-clock life-long learning and training hub and sports/games/leisure facility. But that is by no means the only way forward. The only certainty is that the pace of change, in educational techniques and technology as well as in the skills and knowledge in demand, have far outstripped the ability of centralised planning to cope.

Hence the need for a new debate.

Remember the St Trinians Motto –“get your blow in first”

I do not know how many places are left on Wednesday and I know that the DPA team will be busy with there AGM this afternoon (Monday).

You should but e-mail [email protected] and ask for an invitation to the round table and, better still, to take part in the follow up.

If you cannot attend, ask for an invitation to take part in the follow up anyway.

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