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"Too many" learners are failing to complete key skills qualifications and almost a quarter of adult learning provision is still found to be inadequate.

Further, evidence was found of Train to Gain provision where little or no teaching of new skills took place.

The Quality Improvement Agency yesterday launched its National Improvement Strategy for the further education system, which it hopes will drive the sector forward and help implement recommendations from the Leitch review. The QIA noted that while the current position had improved, more work needed to be done.

Entitled "Pursuing Excellence: the National Improvement Strategy for the further education system", it is "the first-ever integrated improvement strategy for further education", which provides a "coherent" package of programmes designed to help shift FE into self-regulation.

Among many recommendations is one that urges colleges and providers to "ensure that teaching, training and learning are excellent" "“ this will be achieved through QIA commissioned support programmes such as key skills, 14-19 Diploma support and offender learning improvement.

Employers are also urged to "increasingly" become strategic partners of colleges and providers; a new steering group will be set up to include Sector Skills Councils and employer representative organisations in order to drive this agenda forward.

Accordingly, the strategy recommends that: "Each college and provider retains responsibility for its own improvement. Support and intervention may be required in those colleges and providers that are not capable of improving their performance by themselves".

Further Education Minister Bill Rammell commented on the release of the new strategy: "It will ensure that colleges and providers can play their part - a vital one - in realising Lord Leitch's vision for skills. That is why we are setting new targets for the successful completion of courses by learners".

"Colleges and providers must manage their own improvement, and the Strategy will underpin their efforts. They will get practical, tailored support enabling them to respond to employers and learners".

Chief Executive of the QIA, Andrew Thomson, said: "We want our further education system to be world leading and one where learners gain the skills and qualifications they need, employers have access to the highest quality training and education, and both can help shape the way learning is delivered".

"The Improvement Strategy will only succeed if it inspires all working in the further education system to achieve their very best, reflecting on their performance and sharing expertise to help each other improve".

And in a nod to the question of contestability, Graham Hoyle, Chief Executive of the Association of Learning Providers, commented on the new strategy: "Apprenticeship completions are now running at over 53% and the LSC has said that providers are now ahead of schedule for achieving the 75% completion target. ALP welcomes the QIA's new strategy as an important contribution towards helping to achieve the target, because while ownership of quality assurance should lie with the provider, most providers will always welcome an outside source of support in their mission to raise standards further".

He added: "We should also remember, as the Chief Inspector of Adult Learning has said, that a major factor in favour of the funding of further education and training becoming more contestable is that competition constantly acts as a spur to providers to improve the quality of learning and service that they deliver".

For more information, click here.

Vijay Pattni.

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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.

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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.


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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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.

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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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