The new cabinet and education

The recent cabinet reshuffle also saw restructuring in the departments which govern education.

We now have two departments- Children Schools and Families (CSF) headed by ED Balls and Innovation Universities and Skills (IUS) headed by John Denham.

Both have responsibilities outside of education. For example CSF will also deal with family policy issues and IUS will cover science and technology development.

For those of us in FE there is the potential confusion that both departments have something to say to us. With the introduction of 14-19 diplomas, we will deal with the CSF; with the development of HE-in-FE we will deal with the IUS. The IUS will also govern Train to Gain, a key part of the government’s skills agenda.

Will this help or hinder? My feeling- and I hope that I am wrong- is that there is too much going on in each department. Joined up government is a failed promise of this government, and such sprawling departments are not going to help there, although better communication seems to be the aim.

Ministers have been given ‘liaison’ responsibilities, but it remains to be seen how effective this will be when they have so many other areas to work on.


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