The Institute for the Economic Analysis of Decision-making (InstEAD) workshop Educational Choices in Further and Higher Education held on the 23 June 2015 received some very positive feedback.
The event saw over 60 delegates from Further and Higher Education and other skills agencies come together to hear about current research into this dynamic area of public policy.
Topics covered during the event included funding in both Further Education (FE) and Higher Education (HE) and student participation and acheivement in FE and HE.
Students from low performing schools are more likely to flourish in HE than those with the same level of prior attainment from high performing schools.
Prof. Alison Wolf from Kings College London presented data comparing UK government funding of HE and FE. She showed that even in recent years of cuts, HE funding has continued to increase in real terms, while the budget for adult learning outside HE has declined in both real and absolute terms. Alison questioned the value of this policy and argued for more FE funding to support a recovering UK economy.
Prof. Lorraine Dearden from the Institute for Fiscal Studies and the Institute of Education at University College London presented on socioeconomic gaps in HE participation. She demonstrated how such gaps widened in the second half of the last century, but her analysis found no further widening since the turn of the century. In particular, there is no evidence yet to suggest that the 2012 increase in student fees has impacted on participation differently by socioeconomic background.
One finding from Lorraine’s research was that students from low performing schools are more likely to flourish in HE than those with the same level of prior attainment from high performing schools, which could have implications for universities’ admissions policies.
The programme for the workshop was put together by Dr Steve McIntosh (and assisted by Dr Pam Lenton) who is leading on an area of research for a new Centre for Vocational Education Research (CVER). The centre will lead research into improving vocational education and answering questions on how successful past and current FE policies have been.
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