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The future of FE colleges: Colleges must dramatically change what they deliver and how they deliver it

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Tom Richmond, Director of EDSK

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Sep 18, 2020 / FE Voices

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"

Please forgive me, for I stumbled across something the other day that had disturbing relevance to the cataclysm currently engulfing our planet.

I beg forgiveness because there is a theme that I realise has been running through my columns the past few weeks, and that is a theme of misery. It is a theme of a society imploding; tearing itself apart at the seams; eating itself; destroying itself, whichever description you prefer. Madness, it seems, has taken root in all our senses. For you see, we are living in an age of destruction. Not through prophecy, nor some prescribed preaching. But we are actually witnessing the apocalypse of our dear planet.

Bad Planet, Bad, Bad

Daily newscasts reveal all that is wrong with the world. Death here, murder there; squalor and deprivation here, gluttonous over-indulgence there. In fact, such is the vehemence with which our planet is hurtling towards its inevitable final destination, tellingly, scientists are now formulating methods and implements by which we can track down earth-like planets outside our solar system. Not to find alternative life, but to haul our ignorant hordes over to survive and maintain the species. Yes, quite what the effect would be of carting millions of ill-informed and illiterate A.S.B.O's over to another planet is beyond reckoning, but one that is definitely crossing the mind of those better informed than us.

Peruse the past few weeks of stories from around the world and you will see what I mean. More dead in Iraq, as British troops pay the ultimate price for the fighting; civil unrest festering in the hearts of Iraqis who condemn the invasion; the National Front marching in Luton to campaign against "terror," yet choosing the most diversely ethnic populated area in the town by "coincidence"; drought affecting all countries as the planet slowly sucks itself dry; millions squandered on the NHS with the majority failing to pass basic competency tests; inflation crippling millions of home owners into poverty in supposedly one of the most developed nations in the world.

What's Right is Right?

So you see, again, I plead for your forgiveness. Journalism, for me, has always been a method by which we should seek to rectify the wrongs of society. The battles between tenacious and obstinate newspaper editors and leaders of nations have encapsulated memorable periods in the history of the twentieth, and now twenty-first, century. Yet at this precise moment, I find no heart to remedy society, nor to aid its recovery, for daily, I witness the depravity and iniquity wrenching away at everything we have achieved. Plato, in his masterpiece "Republic", posed a very relevant question: "How are we going to bring these people up? What education shall we give them? If we look into these issues, does it further the overall purpose of our enquiry, which is to see how morality and immorality arise in society?"

Those questions appear in the pertinently titled chapter called "Primary Education for the Guardians," and its relevance cannot be overlooked. Education is the backbone of a compliant, peaceful and flourishing society; a cornerstone of civility that cannot be sold-out for business or watered down to appease the voter's who so often rely on tables and percentages rather than morals and principles. We are consistently given authenticated reports and statistics about how great our education system is, and how phenomenal the pass rate has become.

Yet massive disparities threaten to unhinge the entire system, as chasms of ineptitude and misadministration block our thoughts of success. In this, we look to our government. So often the centre of scorn and ridicule though not for fashion nor ignorance. In some circles, it has indeed become fashionable to denounce government; fear of aligning with "the man" and of a corporate brainwashing. No, this condemnation arises through the lack of attention paid to the country's societal pioneers, education and health.

Healthy Debate

The National Health Service (NHS) has been the favoured stone to throw at government as a clear indication of failure, and this week we learn again of another catastrophic incompetence on the part of over 80% of hospitals and Primary Care Trusts, failing to comply with basic proficiency tests. And over the years, what has been the government response? Pour money down the throat, choke the senses and deaden the effect.

What of education? All the hallmarks are there for disaster. Failings in comprehensives; colleges under-performing; ministers popping out of every corner proclaiming ever-inventive ways of saving the much vaunted "engine" of our economy. And now we have calls for privatisation of the sector. To paraphrase legalese, again and again this government has proven beyond all reasonable doubt that its ability to correctly control and implement valuable methods to preserve and improve our core services has fallen below par. Their mantra when sweeping into office in those heady days of "97 focused on education being the key, and now we have the final throw of the dice.

Again, in "Republic" Plato surmises: "When thoughts of death start to impinge on a persons mind, he entertains fears and worries about things which never occurred to him before"¦he becomes filled with anxiety and fear and starts to make calculations"¦" A clear indication if ever, of Mr Blair's final days in office, desperately gambling his reputation on short-term policies. Once again, Plato accurately describes what position we would find ourselves in, should we give in to big business taking over the FE system: "Poets are attached to their own compositions, fathers to their sons; in the same way, businessmen are concerned about money not only because it's useful, but also because it is the product of their own labours. This makes them irritating to be with, since money is the only thing they"re prepared to think highly of."

Vijay Pattni

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SERC has published a new article: Conal Set for SPARKS Apprentice of the Year Competition 2 hours 50 minutes ago
National Graduate Week added a new event 3 hours

NETWORK RAIL: GET YOUR GRADUATE CAREER ON-TRACK

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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.

Podcasts

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.

Events

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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