Getting Value for Money from the Education of 16- to 18 year-olds
HC 1116, Forty-second Report of Session 2010-12 - Report, Together with Formal Minutes, Oral and Written Evidence
- House of Commons - Committee of Public Accounts
- TSO (The Stationery Office)
'Getting Value for Money from the Education of 16- to 18 year-olds (HC 1116)' examines the effectiveness and efficiency of the current education system for 16- to 18 year-olds.
In 2009, over 1.6 million 16- to 18 year-olds participated in some form of education and training at a cost of over £6 billion. Most studied full-time for qualifications such as A-levels or National Vocational Qualifications (NVQs) at a general further education college, sixth form college, or school sixth form.
The system governing the education of 16- to 18 year-olds is devolved and complex: the Department for Education (DfE) has overall responsibility, and the Young People's Learning Agency funds education providers and monitors their performance. Local authorities have a duty to secure provision but they have limited powers, and having duties without powers cannot work effectively.
There has been an overall improvement in the achievements of 16- to 18 year-olds over the last four years. Students in larger providers have generally achieved better results. This report suggests smaller providers, by collaborating, can achieve some of the benefits of size.
In a market, consistently poor providers should fail because they lose funding as students choose to study elsewhere. For the 16- to 18 education market to work effectively, there needs to be consistent and relevant information so the DfE can assess value for money and students can make informed judgements about their courses and what they lead to.
The Committee concludes: where a provider's performance is poor, there must be clarity about the criteria for intervention, and the timing and extent of intervention. Neither is fully in place at present.
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