Documents to download

On 5 July 2018, the House of Lords is scheduled to debate a motion moved by Baroness Bakewell (Labour) on “part-time and continuing education, and in particular the future of the Open University”.

This short briefing considers some of the issues central to the debate on the decline in levels of part-time study in recent years, particularly in respect of part-time higher education courses in England—including a marked fall in the number of students taking part-time courses at the Open University (OU). Reasons suggested for the decline have ranged from economic explanations, such as the impact of the financial downturn on part-time course enrolments, to policy changes, such as the impact of reforms to the student tuition fee regime in England introduced under the Coalition Government. Other reasons, such as changing learning habits, have also been suggested as contributing to the downward trend. In response, the Government has launched a review of post-18 education in England. A selection of recommended reading is identified at the end of the briefing for further information on this subject.


Documents to download

Related posts

  • Higher education: Contribution to the economy and levelling up

    The economic output of the UK higher education sector is estimated to be at least £116bn and graduates often experience better employment outcomes than non-graduates. Improving skills features in the government’s levelling up strategy and ministers have said that higher education institutions play a vital part in supporting regional economies. However, some stakeholders have criticised the government’s plans to restrict access to certain higher education courses and for not putting enough emphasis on the benefits provided by the sector.

    Higher education: Contribution to the economy and levelling up
  • Poverty in the UK: Government policy

    There were approximately 11 million people in the UK in relative poverty (before housing costs) in 2021/22. Many people on low incomes receive cash benefits, such as universal credit, and other benefits such as free school meals. In its levelling up strategy the government set out measures to address poverty; these include increasing the number of high-paying jobs and improving access to good quality education and skills training.

    Poverty in the UK: Government policy
  • Mental health, wellbeing and personal development in schools

    Schools are required to provide support for the mental health and wellbeing of pupils. Sex, relationships and citizenship education are also included in the national curriculum. This briefing considers the government’s policy on mental health in schools and the current requirements for personal, social, health and economic education. It also summarises recent scrutiny of exam pressure in schools and citizenship education by House of Lords committees.

    Mental health, wellbeing and personal development in schools