Government pulls all Learndirect contracts and funding

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Government pulls all Learndirect contracts and funding

Move comes after privatised adult training agency accused of paying owners millions despite ‘catastrophic’ decline in standards Article Guardian

The government is to cancel all contracts with Learndirect, the adult training provider that tried to suppress a damning regulator’s report into its poor standards.

The Department for Education said on Tuesday that it would withdraw all funding from the organisation, which is responsible for almost 73,000 trainees, by July 2018 and that it had already banned it from taking on new apprentices.

Learndirect, which was privatised by David Cameron’s coalition government in 2011 and is majority-owned by the private equity arm of Lloyds Bank, has said it could collapse into administration if the DfE withdrew its funding, which was worth £158m in the year to July 2017.


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After the DfE announcement, a Learndirect spokesperson said the Education and Skills Funding Agency “issues 12-month adult education budget contracts to the sector, with the current round scheduled to end in July 2018. This is just one source of funding into Learndirect Limited”.

The company, which has paid out tens of millions of pounds to its owners and managers since privatisation, had sought a court injunction to prevent the publication of a highly critical report by the education regulator Ofsted.

In its application to the court, Learndirect said publication could lead to the “catastrophic” withdrawal of government funding, according to the education publisher FE Week, which successfully lobbied for the lifting of reporting restrictions.

Learndirect had said publication of the report, which gave the provider the lowest possible rating, would create a risk of “irreparable damage including financial consequences”.Full article 

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