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UCU responds to Queen's speech: concerns over foundation degrees, fees and adult education

15 November 2006 | last updated: 15 December 2015

UCU has responded to elements in the Queen's speech regarding further and higher education.

UCU joint general secretaries, Paul Mackney and Sally Hunt said: 'UCU welcomes the promise to "continue to widen participation in higher education and encourage students of all backgrounds with academic potential to go to university." However, if reports are true that much of higher education expansion will come from foundation degrees delivered in FE colleges, it is imperative that this is adequately funded to ensure high quality and opportunities for students to progress to a full degree. It cannot be done on the cheap. Wider participation also cannot be advanced via variable tuition fees and certainly any increase in them would work against this objective.

'UCU welcomes any streamlining of LSCs that would reduce unnecessary bureaucracy and bring resources closer to front-line teaching.

'We also welcome the commitment to "substantially raising skills among young people and adults". We hope this will mean a review of the current reduction of opportunities in adult education courses, greater support for older students and an end to the cuts in ESOL which only a few weeks ago Bill Rammell said was the key to integration.

'We support the move towards greater employer involvement in training but the government is still refusing to bite the bullet and introduce a level of compulsion on employers to make a meaningful contribution to the cost of this.'

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