By their very nature systems are set up to attract degrees of change. Some would call this making improvements; others may consider it tinkering. However you look at it, systems that require improvements invite interference, for better or worse. The problems arise when the agencies involved don't talk to one another.

For example, the Government has laid out plans for a Further Education Guild which, according the blurb, will give all of us involved in the sector more control over how the FE curriculum is organised.

That's the theory: no doubt there is a large number of us out there wondering what is next for further education, and will the Guild really make a difference to our professionalism?  From my own perspective, it is not an unwelcome move because it may enable further education to have more parity with schools in terms of salary levels and inspection regimes but I have a nagging doubt that if we are not careful we may have yet another level of bureaucracy to deal with. Schools of course, even academies, are not subject to the business contracts of an FE College, which begs the question - is the Government really going to hike FE revenue streams by up to 10 per cent to create the parity? I think not!

This may appear a somewhat pessimistic view but I am concerned with regard to communication and also the rationale for change. Those in the sector are, I am sure, aware of the proposed changes and approaches for the allocation of monies to learners with learning difficulties and disabilities. Suddenly, that process of distribution is being changed yet again with no real purpose. Surely the institutions directly supporting such learning are in the best position to judge how the money should be used?  I haven’t bothered to explore the nature for such change but I can guess it includes streamlining, entitlement and joint-agency working.

Now, one more complaint which I hope the funding agencies will pay heed to concerns Offender Learning. This, to be precise, is about creating skills training for offenders which will equip them for the workplace and contribute towards a reduction in re-offending. What currently happens is that the key qualifications like CSCS cards, Health and Safety/First Aid – which employers don’t just want but generally demand – are not available to be funded. They were a couple of months ago but now they are not – fantastic strategic planning...I don't think!

But enough of the gripes. Let’s have a more positive look at what is going on in the sector. There is much development of curriculum re-design as we move to the maximum 600 hours of funding and the new proposals, which although representing significant cuts for the majority of providers, allows us to focus on key themes such as employability skills and the ‘STEM’ agenda alongside the key areas of delivery.

The advent of 14 to 16 learning for college in the very near future will  facilitate challenges and opportunities for all providers and I would suggest that such provision needs to be very specific if it is to be effective and sit alongside school and academy provision including Studio Schools, Free Schools and University Technical Colleges.  It can be done but should only occur when it is in the best interest of the learner and in conjunction with educational delivery at a local level. At my own College we have been considering a 14 to 16 model but it will be very small and targeted at a particular audience which will be drawn from a wide geographical area.

For those involved in the delivery of ‘HE in FE’, there is the bidding for a further round of directly funded places in the near future, which needs to be managed with integrity and again based on need and ability to deliver rather than a numbers lottery. There are many successful and innovative examples of HE in our further education colleges but, for a whole variety of reasons, there are also colleges not faring well in the recruitment stakes and it is the learner who must be at the forefront of any discussions. Many of you will have gone through institutional assessment (IQER) and will probably be preparing for its successor. Either way, you will be aware of the rigour, attention to detail and levels of scholarly activity that are crucial  for success and I realise that this is just touching on the periphery of the process.

I will close now, but if you have been lucky enough to have had a half-term break I hope you are fully rejuvenated. But for those of us who didn’t in FE, which I fear is the majority, keep up the good work and remember to celebrate the achievements of your organisation and try and draw attention of your success to those who matter.

Paul Phillips is principal and chief executive of Weston College, Weston-super-Mare

You may also be interested in these articles:

Sponsored Video

Register, Login or Login with your Social Media account:


Advertisers

Upcoming FE Events

Advertiser Skyscrapers

Newsroom Activity

Educating yourself in Prison: an inside job

Educating yourself in Prison: an inside job

FE News: The Future of Education News Channel had a status update on Twitter yesterday

RT @NCFE: ‘For as long as humans have worked, and whatever industry they may have worked in, success has always been predicated on having t…
View Original Tweet

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