Articles from RSM

Increased funding pressure for FE organisations – but how much more can they take? #LoveOurColleges

Following the latest education funding statistics from the Institute of Fiscal Studies, it appears that further education and sixth-form funding has been fallen by 8 per cent in real terms since the peak in 2010-11.

Don't let inadequate data impact your funding

As the academic year comes to a close, you’d think that minds would be turning to holidays but instead leadership teams within providers will be focusing on Individualised Learner Record and data cleansing ready for submission of year end and final funding claims.

Spotlight on FE executive pay seems to be the direction of travel

Focus on pay in the education sector has increased significantly in recent years.

#Brexit and beyond: What can the further education sector expect in 2019?

As we embrace the new year, Stephanie Mason, head of further education at RSM predicts some of the key themes for the sector in 2019: 

Is the FE sector ready for GDPR?

The imminent introduction of the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) represents a real challenge to educational establishments at all levels across the country given the wide range of sensitive data that is processed by them as there are no current exemptions that are specific to education.   The aim of the new regime is to give EU citizens more control over their data in all locations – including the cloud - and incorporate recent human rights legislation into a more consistent framework across Europe. It comes into force as national law in May 2018 and replaces the current Data Protection Act. Brexit does not remove the compliance requirement.   Whilst the principles that will be introduced through GDPR are quite clear, how they will work on the ground in all sectors still needs to be determined. There are several things that are already apparent though: the impact of getting compliance wrong in the future will potentially be much more serious as sanctions have been increased; the requirements will have affected this autumn’s enrolment in that pupils and students who have just joined the roster come into scope in May 2018. As such, the way that they have been processed – and how consent was gained - will have an impact further down the line; for the further education sector, a particular concern will be the new requirement to provide specific protection to all data relating to children and vulnerable adults. This may require that additional controls be put in place;  the role of the Data Protection Officer will assume a new importance and this may mean that the current incumbent may not be suitable for the role. Independence will be key so schools and colleges may therefore have to re-allocate the post to someone in a different position or even hire someone new with the skills necessary to carry out the role; and this is not an IT issue. Whilst data in systems will clearly need to be protected, the organisation as a whole will need to be involved as new governance structures and controls processes will be required. However, there is good news. May 2018 does not have to be an absolute end point for full compliance. The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) have intimated that they understand that progress may be slower for some sectors and that they expect organisations to demonstrate good progress rather than absolute compliance on the due date. This is not a get out of jail card – FE organisations still need to start their compliance processes as soon as possible if they have not already done so.

HMRC VAT crackdown on FE sector continues

It appears that HMRC is reviewing the contractual arrangements with subcontractors to ensure all FE providers are complying with VAT rules on management fees.

What can the education sector expect in 2018?

As 2017 draws to a close, Lisa Randall, head of education at RSM predicts some of the key themes for the education sector as we head into 2018.

There’s no such thing as a VAT-free lunch, or is there…?

Many schools and colleges throughout the United Kingdom could benefit from a VAT windfall of tens of millions of pounds, plus interest, thanks to the European Court.   Under EU VAT law, and under current UK VAT law, the provision of education by eligible bodies – including universities, colleges and independent schools – is exempt from VAT; something the Labour party will have to give due consideration to if it does make a manifesto commitment to apply VAT to private education fees.   In the landmark decision of Brockenhurst College, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) has confirmed that sales to the public such as catering sales in training restaurants and admission charges to theatrical performances by students, are services closely related to the provision of education, and also exempt from VAT.   For the purpose of enabling students enrolled in courses related to catering and hospitality to learn skills in a practical context, a growing number of further education colleges run ‘training’ restaurants. The catering functions of such training restaurants are generally undertaken by the students, under the supervision of their tutors, and open to members of the public.   HMRC’s longstanding position has been that, as the provision of meals, and attendance at theatrical performances, were supplies to the general public, they should be subject to VAT at the standard rate.   However, the CJEU has determined that such services offered by the College to a limited number of customers, did not appear to be comparable to those offered by commercial restaurants, but was practical training forming an integral part of the student’s curriculum, without which students would not fully benefit from their education.   Consequently, the CJEU ruled that sales to the public may be regarded as services ‘closely related’ to the principal supply of education and exempt from VAT.   Having local colleges providing VAT free restaurant services may be seen by some commercial operators as competition, with the resulting likelihood being further calls for a VAT reduction in the hospitality and catering sectors. In apparently recognising such, the CJEU acknowledges that it would be for the national courts to determine if there is any distortion of competition resulting from treating such supplies as exempt from VAT.   Given this binding judgment of the European Court, colleges, schools and the public may benefit from other supplies made as part of vocational training courses: for example, hair and beauty salons, car repairs etc. As such could also be considered as services ‘closely related’ to the supply of education, they would, subject to competition rules, also be exempted from VAT. David Wilson, RSM, VAT Director

Education supremo Sir David Carter urges closer collaboration

Sir David Carter, the former national school’s commissioner, has urged multi academy trusts (MATs) to be more open and to work more closely together to better understand risk and thus achieve their ultimate success. His comments were made as part of a new academic report by leading audit, tax and consulting firm RSM.

RSM strengthens education offering with key partner promotion

Leading audit, tax and consulting firm RSM has promoted Louise Tweedie to partner to help drive the firm’s future direction and growth strategy. The promotion took effect on 1 September 2019.

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 May 2020, FE News had over 120,000 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.

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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