Changing Faces Home Page


Developments in the 1990s

Date Event
1990 UNESCO International Literacy Year. Promoted literacy issues across the world, but the UK was not part of UNESCO at this point.
1991 A study was undertaken with the sample of 21 year olds from the British Cohort Study 1970. with the aim of discovering who in this age group had problems with basic skills and the nature of these problems.
1991-95 Basic Skills Agency managing the Basic Skills at Work Programme, funded by the Education and Employment Departments.
1991-92 Employers surveys and surveys of  basic skills training programmes carried out for the Training Enterprise Councils (TECs).
1992 Introduction of the Quality Mark for Basic Skills Programmes for Adults - this focused mainly on entitlement: what anyone joining a basic skills programme should expect to get.
1992 Further and Higher Education Act includes Basic Skills courses under Schedule 2
1992-93 ALBSU Regional training programme ceases.
1992-93 Fact finding research on Family Literacy in the US.
1993 The Basic Skills Agency Resource Centre was established at the Institute of Education in London.
1993-97 ALBSU responsible for the major Family Literacy initiative.
1993 ALBSU commissioned research published in 2 parts as "The Basic Skills Needed at Work" and "Basic Skills and Jobs". The main findings were that Basic Skills have become more important to employers in the last 5 years, especially oral communications.
1993 Creation of the FEFCand an inspectorate with basic education team and basic skills inspections
1994 The "Competitiveness - Forging ahead" White Paper was published detailing concerns about the UK position compared with other developed countries. Led to revision of National Targets for Education and Training, support for the notion of "lifetime learning" and for the  1996 European Year of Lifelong Learning. Decision to participate in the International Adult Literacy Survey, managed by the OPCS.
1995 From survey research, 1 in 7 people (almost 6 million) estimated to have serious problems reading, writing, spelling and/or maths and 500,000 people, who did not speak English as their mother tongue, need help with language.
1995 Adult Literacy and Basic Skills Agency, ALBSU, changed its name to the Basic Skills Agency (BSA) and the Government extended its remit to include supporting the development of effective programmes for children and young people (ALBSU) had operated from 1975 to 1995 under the direction of Alan Wells. It continued in 1995 with the same Director.
1995 11-18 February  "Read and Write Together" Week organised by ALBSU and the BBC. The response from the public to receive the free Information Pack for parents was the biggest response in broadcasting history.
1995 End of funding for Local Development Projects.
1993-96 Demonstration Family Literacy Projects, later evaluated by the NFER.
1996 The BSA Quality Mark concept was extended to secondary schools. BSA 1997 Key Facts.
1996 June 1996. The Tomilnson  report on "Inclusive Learning" was published by the Committee on Students with Learning Difficulties and Disabilities
1996 Local Initiative grants of up to £12,500 were made available to schools to develop their provision to improve basic skills of pupils. (BSA Update No 11 June 1996)
1997 The BSA commissioned report into the National Child Development Study of people born in 1958 was published under the heading "It doesn't get any better" (Bynner and Parsons) which accurately summarises the findings. The depth of the impact on the adults (aged 37) in the cohort with poor basic skills is seen in all aspect of their lives from experiencing more unemployment, lower wages and more health problems including markedly more evidence of higher levels of depression, especially in women.
1997 UK came at the bottom of an International Numeracy Survey of developed countries. BBC runs a new series "Count on me" to address this issue and BSA runs Family Numeracy Pilot Projects.
1997 BSA Quality Mark for primary schools was piloted
1997 February 1997 DfEE published a discussion document "Basic Skills for Life" and the BSA was required by the Secretary of State to set up a series of consultation conferences around the country.
1997 May 1997 the Labour Party swept to victory in the General Election. David Blunkett became Secretary of State for Education.
1997 National Literacy Strategy.
1997 The report of the widening participation committee chaired by Helena Kennedy QC "Learning Works" was published by the FEFC
1997-98 Basic Skills Agency receives a grant of £4.3 million from the Department of Education and Employment. CD-ROM issued which can be used to estimated levels of local need in all districts of the country.
1998 The Learning Age Green Paper published
1998 An updated Basic Skills Agency Quality Mark for post 16 programmes was launched, including everything in the 1992 Quality Mark, but focusing on effectiveness as well as entitlement.
1998 The Further Education Funding Council (FEFC) published a programme area  inspection report on Basic Education
1999 White paper "Learning to Succeed" - reference made to past system failures to support many people including those with particular difficulties, including poor basic skills. Also reference is made to the strength of the Voluntary Sector in tackling social exclusion and in providing for learners with basic skills needs.
1999 The Moser report "A Fresh Start".
2000 Skills for Life Strategy Launched

Link to previous page