Articles from UNIT-e

Funding top challenge for college principals

Nigel Rayner explores some of the key issues that a recent survey has indicated will be dominating the thoughts of college principals this year.

Four ways to take control of the area reviews

The fifth wave of the area reviews process has kicked off and the progress of FE reform remains under a bright spotlight.  

Further education – a vision of the future?

Colleges in England are currently considering what shape FE provision might take in the years ahead. Whatever your views are on the reforms to post-16 education, few in the sector would argue that they could have a significant impact on how colleges organise their provision.This is a journey that many Scottish colleges have already embarked upon. Having worked closely with a number of institutions in the region that have merged or federated with neighbouring institutions, there are some common factors that they would highlight as critical to success.

A commercial take on adult and community learning

Jayne Wilcock, curriculum and data manager at East Riding of Yorkshire Council, explains why adult and community learning providers need to think like businesses to ensure their provision enhances the opportunities available to learners.

5 Top Tips For A Sixth Form College Becoming An Academy

In life the only constant is change, as Heraclitus said – one maxim that rings true for many in the FE sector. Since the announcement that sixth form colleges could convert to academies, over half have expressed an interest in converting and a fifth have already started a formal process to make the change, according to government figures.

How ICT can help Apprenticeship providers keep track

At a time when public sector funding cuts are commonplace, the government's commitment to increasing apprenticeships – and the £250m set aside to fund this into 2014/15 – has been welcome news for many. For young people, it's an opportunity to be paid while learning skills that could subsequently secure long-term job prospects. For employers, there's the chance to improve productivity and be more competitive in a cost-effective way. For the economy as a whole, apprenticeships directly address the imminent skills shortage and could help boost the UK's financial recovery.

The Further Education landscape in Scotland

Paradoxically, in a time of belt-tightening and austerity measures, there are many opportunities open to the further education sector in Scotland. As David Bell, professor of economics at the University of Stirling, says: "With fewer jobs on offer, young people who once would have left school and gone straight into work are now looking towards further education. Despite the financial restraints, there is a real opportunity to engage young people here. The government's decision to increase apprenticeships is a step in the right direction to re-emphasize vocational areas that need stimulating, such as manufacturing."While there is no doubt that FE provision will be instrumental in re-energising the economy, the challenges that come with budget cuts can't be ignored. Over the border in England, the Comprehensive Spending Review of October 2010 set out cuts of 25% for the further education sector but we have yet to fully understand how Scotland will address the terms of the CSR.A lack of clarity around how the cuts will be implemented might prevail, but we do know that Scotland's overall budget will fall by £1.3 billion in cash terms in 2011-12 so FE is bound to feel an impact. David Bell comments: "All budgets in the education sector are under pressure, so colleges need to rigorously scrutinise for true efficiency savings, ways of cutting cost but not quality, and rationalisation measures."Planning + Monitoring = ResilienceTo start with, colleges need to be confident that their in-house management processes are resilient enough to cope with change, that fundamental back-office administrative processes are streamlined and efficient, that student retention levels are being monitored and that, no matter what the socio-economic vicinity is like, the college is doing everything it can to demonstrate the value it is adding to their students' learning experience.The key to effective management of these areas lies in proper planning and consistent monitoring – and a careful combination of the two can add up to an extremely cost-effective provision of education. For example, accurate forecasting of the financial implications of providing different courses before the course is offered means that should anything happen once a course is in progress to affect the bottom line, action can quickly be taken to stem the loss of money or college reputation.Vocational FocusColleges looking to maximise their ability to keep on top financial lines in Scotland need the flexibility to adapt to the renewed focus on vocational training. The budget bill for 2011-2012 will deliver 25,000 modern apprenticeships, the highest ever number in Scotland and, as David Bell puts it, "This means colleges must develop strong links with employers; collaboration is key. We may not achieve the success of Germany overnight, who do this as second nature, but we need to have the consistency to see it through."To operate successfully in this area, colleges need the frameworks in place to seamlessly manage the dual elements of academic study and on-the-job training. It's critical to ensure that any learning taking place outside the classroom is accurately monitored and there are big efficiency savings by doing this electronically rather than producing administrative-heavy paper-based reports.Successful OutcomesFacing an uncertain financial outlook is always an uncomfortable position to be in, even for the FE sector which is so well-used to accommodating change. To take back an element of control, colleges must turn their attentions inwards and exploit the capabilities of technology to streamline processes and take advantage of efficiency gains. No-one is suggesting that remaining competitive, regardless of the budgetary outlook and without losing sight of the priorities that remain at the heart of the education sector, is going to be easy. But, as Skills Minister Angela Constance said in a debate in February 2011, Scotland's colleges have a "track record of rising to challenges".Rob Elliott is products manager at Capita Further and Higher Education, providers of integrated management information systems to the FE and HE sectorsFollow Rob on twitter @capitafhe

So, how DO you solve a problem like funding?

Understanding the complexities of the funding formula in the further education marketplace along with the practicalities of actually getting the funding has always been a bit of a minefield. In the past, funding bodies have been like the mythical hydra. You chop one head off, and two more spring up in its place.

Controlling staff costs really pays

With times tight and the pressure on for the FE sector to increase the standard of education they offer despite limited resources, Rob Elliott, UK products manager at Capita’s further and higher education business, explains how linking payroll systems to timetabling can reap dividends when it comes to staff utilisation.

The Mobile E-volution

In 1975, Dr Henry Edward Roberts unveiled the Altair 8800. It was the first PC ever invented and instantly changed the world, forever. Today, the PC is in every home, office, school, college and university.

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Latest Education News

Further Education News

The FE News Channel gives you the latest education news and updates on emerging education strategies and the #FutureofEducation and the #FutureofWork.

Providing trustworthy and positive Further Education news and views since 2003, we are a digital news channel with a mixture of written word articles, podcasts and videos. Our specialisation is providing you with a mixture of the latest education news, our stance is always positive, sector building and sharing different perspectives and views from thought leaders, to provide you with a think tank of new ideas and solutions to bring the education sector together and come up with new innovative solutions and ideas.

FE News publish exclusive peer to peer thought leadership articles from our feature writers, as well as user generated content across our network of over 3000 Newsrooms, offering multiple sources of the latest education news across the Education and Employability sectors.

FE News also broadcast live events, podcasts with leading experts and thought leaders, webinars, video interviews and Further Education news bulletins so you receive the latest developments in Skills News and across the Apprenticeship, Further Education and Employability sectors.

Every week FE News has over 200 articles and new pieces of content per week. We are a news channel providing the latest Further Education News, giving insight from multiple sources on the latest education policy developments, latest strategies, through to our thought leaders who provide blue sky thinking strategy, best practice and innovation to help look into the future developments for education and the future of work.

In Jan 2021, FE News had over 173,000 unique visitors according to Google Analytics and over 200 new pieces of news content every week, from thought leadership articles, to the latest education news via written word, podcasts, video to press releases from across the sector, putting us in the top 2,000 websites in the UK.

We thought it would be helpful to explain how we tier our latest education news content and how you can get involved and understand how you can read the latest daily Further Education news and how we structure our FE Week of content:

Main Features

Our main features are exclusive and are thought leadership articles and blue sky thinking with experts writing peer to peer news articles about the future of education and the future of work. The focus is solution led thought leadership, sharing best practice, innovation and emerging strategy. These are often articles about the future of education and the future of work, they often then create future education news articles. We limit our main features to a maximum of 20 per week, as they are often about new concepts and new thought processes. Our main features are also exclusive articles responding to the latest education news, maybe an insight from an expert into a policy announcement or response to an education think tank report or a white paper.

FE Voices

FE Voices was originally set up as a section on FE News to give a voice back to the sector. As we now have over 3,000 newsrooms and contributors, FE Voices are usually thought leadership articles, they don’t necessarily have to be exclusive, but usually are, they are slightly shorter than Main Features. FE Voices can include more mixed media with the Further Education News articles, such as embedded podcasts and videos. Our sector response articles asking for different comments and opinions to education policy announcements or responding to a report of white paper are usually held in the FE Voices section. If we have a live podcast in an evening or a radio show such as SkillsWorldLive radio show, the next morning we place the FE podcast recording in the FE Voices section.

Sector News

In sector news we have a blend of content from Press Releases, education resources, reports, education research, white papers from a range of contributors. We have a lot of positive education news articles from colleges, awarding organisations and Apprenticeship Training Providers, press releases from DfE to Think Tanks giving the overview of a report, through to helpful resources to help you with delivering education strategies to your learners and students.


We have a range of education podcasts on FE News, from hour long full production FE podcasts such as SkillsWorldLive in conjunction with the Federation of Awarding Bodies, to weekly podcasts from experts and thought leaders, providing advice and guidance to leaders. FE News also record podcasts at conferences and events, giving you one on one podcasts with education and skills experts on the latest strategies and developments.

We have over 150 education podcasts on FE News, ranging from EdTech podcasts with experts discussing Education 4.0 and how technology is complimenting and transforming education, to podcasts with experts discussing education research, the future of work, how to develop skills systems for jobs of the future to interviews with the Apprenticeship and Skills Minister.

We record our own exclusive FE News podcasts, work in conjunction with sector partners such as FAB to create weekly podcasts and daily education podcasts, through to working with sector leaders creating exclusive education news podcasts.

Education Video Interviews

FE News have over 700 FE Video interviews and have been recording education video interviews with experts for over 12 years. These are usually vox pop video interviews with experts across education and work, discussing blue sky thinking ideas and views about the future of education and work.


FE News has a free events calendar to check out the latest conferences, webinars and events to keep up to date with the latest education news and strategies.

FE Newsrooms

The FE Newsroom is home to your content if you are a FE News contributor. It also help the audience develop relationship with either you as an individual or your organisation as they can click through and ‘box set’ consume all of your previous thought leadership articles, latest education news press releases, videos and education podcasts.

Do you want to contribute, share your ideas or vision or share a press release?

If you want to write a thought leadership article, share your ideas and vision for the future of education or the future of work, write a press release sharing the latest education news or contribute to a podcast, first of all you need to set up a FE Newsroom login (which is free): once the team have approved your newsroom (all content, newsrooms are all approved by a member of the FE News team- no robots are used in this process!), you can then start adding content (again all articles, videos and podcasts are all approved by the FE News editorial team before they go live on FE News). As all newsrooms and content are approved by the FE News team, there will be a slight delay on the team being able to review and approve content.

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