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FE Voices

Richard Atkins' Final Annual Report as Further Education Commissioner

Richard Atkins CBE, Further Education Commissioner

This will be my last annual report as FE Commissioner, with my extended second term in the role due to end in March 2021. I have hugely enjoyed my time as FE Commissioner and the opportunity...

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Text of keynote speech by @GillianKeegan, #Apprenticeships and #Skills Minister to the #BCSSkillsFest @BCS Virtual Skills Festival: Good morning and thank you for inviting me here today to speak with you all about how we make the...

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Richard Atkins CBE, Further Education Commissioner

Richard Atkins' Final Annual Report as F…

Nov 30, 2020 / FE Voices

This will be my last annual report as FE Commissioner, with my extended second term in the role due to end in March 2021. I have hugely enjoyed my time as FE Commissioner and the opportunity it has given to work with so many colleges across the country. My first few years...

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Dec 01, 2020 / Sector News

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Nov 23, 2020 / Home Learning

#DigitalPoverty - @TeachFirst calls on large businesses and government to close the digital divide  Four out of five (84%)* schools with the poorest pupils do not have enough devices and internet access to ensure all self-isolating pupils can keep learning, a new survey from the education charity Teach First has revealed. This...

"

Dr. John Brennan issued a challenge to the government and UK businesses during his keynote address to the Association of Colleges (AoC) annual conference earlier today.

Responding to the long awaited Foster Review into the Future Role of Further Education Colleges - published yesterday - the AoC Chief Executive called on businesses in particular to shoulder their share of responsibility for the UK's skills shortages.

"Colleges are exposed to a burden of expectation simply not faced by other institutions in the Learning and Skills sector," he complained, adding: "we do not expect to be so freely and unfairly criticised."

Fantasy

Refering to claims from the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) that FE colleges are unable to do the job of training properly, Dr. Brennan advised Sir Digby Jones and John Sutherland to "look to their own back yard." Anyone listening to the CBI might assume that ten years of modernisation and rationalisation in the FE sector was "a fantasy", he said.

He claimed that far too many UK businesses shirk responsibility for training and qualifying staff, and that most are unwilling to invest the time and money needed to do the job properly. "The fact is, Roy of the Rovers does more real life training than the average firm," he joked, to laughter from the auditorium.

He said that the proportion of workers receiving training from their employers has barely changed since 1995, and that less than 50% of companies surveyed in a recent Employer Skills Survey provided any off-the-job training at all. He also argued that, just as no college should be allowed to underperform, no company should be able to get away with ignoring or underfunding the training needs of its staff.

Rhubarb

Turning his attention to the government, Dr. Brennan said there was still too much friction in the sector's relationship with Whitehall. "I wish the friction would disappear," he said, "but there is still too much deliberate insinuation that colleges are time-warped in the 1990s and not coping with modern challenges."

He said that the Department for Education and Skills (DfES) had been unfair to blame employers" reluctance to invest in training on the ability of colleges to deliver the kind of training they want, complaining that this was "just so much rhubarb." Inevitably, he also touched on the subject of the funding gap between colleges and schools, calling it "both unfair to learners and prejudicial to the long-term value of colleges."

With headlines focused once again on talk of "failing" colleges, Dr. Brennan insisted that the FE sector had its own positive vision for the future. This was "not Bleak House, but Great Expectations," he said.

Joe Paget

Find out what the Dickens was really in the Foster Review by clicking here

"

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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