"

The world surrounding the venue may have been warmed by the beaming sunshine for the majority of the Association of Colleges (AoC) conference in Stratford "“ upon "“ Avon this week, but inside the main lecture hall the assembled educators" minds drifted to the future, and the challenges that lie in wait.

Mr. Andrew Thompson, the Chief Executive of the Learning and Skills Development Agency, spoke to the delegates on Monday midday focusing his address on the upcoming formation of the Quality Improvement Agency (the QIA), but took the opportunity provided to draw to people's attention to some of the systemic challenges that exist.

The basic tasks of the nascent agency include the promotion of self "“ improvement, the acceleration of improvements and the promotion of clarity of purpose within the sector. One of the key benefits that he hopes will come of the QIA will be the further unification of the sector's approach to the challenges faced; however, he also raised issues that went far beyond issues of funding and centralisation versus local control.

Sharing and Trust

In a society that he describes as becoming "risk averse" through conditioning of the public mindset, he called on the sector "“ particularly those responsible for inspection "“ to better recognise the need to move beyond the "ticking the boxes" levels of compliance to requirements. A great tool in this, he stated, would be the furthering of self "“ improvement.

Mr. Thompson also turned to the issue of diversity, and attacked it with a new definition in mind. The distinction and discrimination that he had in mind in this context was not simply that based on race, creed, belief or sex, but the desperate requirement to conform in inspections. He was sure, he said, that those in the audience were very well aware of the pressures attendant to an inspection visit, and that this pressure can often lead to the "tick the box" conformity of response.

This was a phenomenon that was driving what he termed "an orthodoxy which drives a mediocrity". The necessity of passing the inspection causes staff, in this light, to the mentality he mentioned previously. Mr. Thompson was at pains to point out that this was not intended as an attack on inspectors in any way; he is well aware that inspectors are also trying to do their part to improve standards in the sector. He calls rather for a greater awareness of the need to innovate and share the best practices for successful FE provision, and called for OFSTED (the inspection body) to conduct their inspections based more on student outcomes rather than processes and systems.

Get By With a Little Help from Your Friends and Yourself

The need to encourage and stimulate co "“ operation within the sector was also recognised by Mr. Thompson. He highlighted that both within the English system and elsewhere there were valuable lessons to be learnt and shared. He mentioned in particular the successes enjoyed in the Scottish sector, with both their unified approach to HE and FE and in the more coherent nature of their curriculum provision.

This is not to say that he desires a completely co "“ dependent system to be put in place, as this could well lead to problems all of its own. He stated that one of the main challenges facing the QIA was to encourage "self "“ improvement" on the part of the colleges and training providers, as well as self "“ improvement and motivation for change needing to come from within the individual. He gave the opinion that the "if only" arguments occasionally used by frustrated educators "“ such as "if only the students were better" or "if only the students were enrolled in a different way" "“ had to be countered with a recognition that the entire surrounding environment and world is not going to change instantaneously.

With the numerous reviews due to be aired in the near future, which should see the future course of the FE sector further clarified, Mr. Thompson calls for better transfer mechanisms of good practices, more information sharing and co "“ operation and a more unified FE sector that will meet the needs and challenges of Britain as we move into the 21st Century.

Jethro Marsh

Is the sector coherent, or do you welcome reforms? Tell us in the FE Blog

"

#VirtualCoffee with David Gallagher on the future of education, skills and employability

Sponsored Video

Register, Login or Login with your Social Media account:


Advertisers

Upcoming FE Events

Advertiser Skyscrapers

Newsroom Activity

FE News: The Future of Education News Channel had a status update on Twitter 18 hours 35 minutes ago

RT @FENews: Committed to mental health – University Centre Leeds becomes early adopter of new charter: University Centre Leeds (@UniCentreL…
View Original Tweet

Alicia has published a new article: Teachers: Our Unsung Heroes of 2021 20 hours 45 minutes ago
william bradley commented on The Importance of Social-Emotional Learning with At-Risk Students 23 hours 23 minutes ago

SEL is helpful to both children and adults, increasing self-awareness,...

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.

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.

 RSS IconRSS Feed Selection Page