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FE Events

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Politicians are often asked how we would spend vast budgets, which taken at face value are inconceivable. How would I spend £11 billion? Well, I could do with a new suit and my flat needs redecorating"¦oh, FE budget you say?

In seriousness the money allocated for Further Education is stretched and colleges understandably need every penny and more. The government's White Paper earlier this year mercifully highlighted the importance of FE to society and the economy. Indeed, many in the sector expressed approval that it is finally being taken seriously. FE is vital to improve the staying on rates for 16-19 year olds, an area where we lag well behind many other developed nations. Increasing staying on rates will, in turn, improve the skills base for the economy, improve participation levels in Higher Education and overall improve social mobility.

Yet the financial concerns remain. It is pleasing that the government has conceded that the funding gap between schools and colleges exists; a fact known in the sector for quite some time, but a commitment ought to be made to fully close the gap. It is ridiculous that an identical course receives less support purely by virtue of it taking place in a college and not a school.

An area that the government has failed to acknowledge, let alone tackle, is the crisis in funding for adult education. As the government "re-prioritises" its focus on FE, vital courses are being scrapped or becoming unaffordable. £55million has been cut from the adult learning budget in this year alone. Of course we need to make sure young people have relevant skills for the economy; likewise working adults need to secure basic numeracy and English skills. However, implementing targets and ring-fenced funding does not give local providers the necessary flexibility to provide training according to local needs.

This lack of local flexibility (and accountability) relates to the need for a re-assessment of the wider structure of FE. The Education and Skills Select Committee recently described this as a "complex, unwieldy morass of planning, funding and stakeholders bodies." The government have made some small moves in the right direction, streamlining to a single inspectorate agency for example. Yet the problem of the locally unresponsive, unwieldy and costly structure remains. The administrative costs of the Learning and Skills Council last year was over £233million, with over £255m provided for administration in 2006-07.

Alan Johnson has described cuts to adult courses as effecting "over-subsidised flower-arranging" or tai-chi. This is an aunt sally. For starters, many of the cuts are adversely affecting key courses in some of the most deprived communities. The Association of Colleges has estimated that 200 000 classes will be cut across a range of subjects; these include A-level classes, classes for IT, languages and even basic skills for those with learning disabilities.

For a sound bite on the benefits of adult education to the individual you ironically need look no further than the Prime Minister, who stated in 2005 that:

"Learning is good for your health, your self esteem and your employability, whatever your age, status or profession."

However, the government have failed to recognise that it is also good for the economy. Adult learning can improve communication skills, reduce time off work for illness, reduce reliance on benefits and make for a more able workforce. As we become increasingly reliant on an aging population the government is being short sighted in its current funding priorities.

Stephen Williams, Liberal Democrat MP for Bristol-West; Shadow Minister for Higher and Further Education; Member of the Education and Skills select committee.

Tomorrow: Lawrence Miles, Chief Officer with the Independent Organisation For Licenced Verifiers and Assessors (IVA), continues the debate exclusively to FE News


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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 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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