Commons Education Select Committee

The Commons Education Select Committee accountability hearing with the Department for Education took place this week.

The Education Committee scrutinises the work of the Department for Education, covering children’s social care, schools, colleges, the early years and higher education.

Commons Education Select Committee

Speaking for the Department for Education was Michelle Donelan MP, Minister of State for Higher and Further Education, Department for Education; and Keith Smith, Director of Post-16 Strategy and Analysis, Skills Group, Department for Education.

Among the subjects discussed was the need to look beyond the idea that university is the best option open to school leavers. Michelle Donelan stated that there is a need to go beyond the UK’s “obsession” with going to university. According to Donelan, the state should be enabling all forms of social mobility and focus on what is best for the individual – whether that be going to university, further education, or apprenticeships.

‘The state shouldn’t be telling people what’s best for their lives; it should be opening the doors, creating those opportunities,’ Donelan told the Committee.

Asked to address reports that some institutions are continuing with online courses despite the fact that Covid-19 restrictions have been lifted, the higher education minister told the Committee that a “stubborn” minority of universities are refusing to return to face-to-face teaching”.

“I’ve been very clear, this is not acceptable,” she said. “What we expect as a Government …  is that every university is back to pre-pandemic of face-to-face teaching.”

You can watch the Accountability hearings here


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