As we approach Christmas it is time to look back on a term of change. The advent of adult learner loans, the tighter mechanisms in place regarding apprenticeships (and funding in general) and the influence of Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEP) and the absence of appropriate software for funding - quite a mammoth task but we are getting through it. And what about the maths and English fiasco, you say? I am actually going to devote more time to that agenda later - I am still bemused by the inability of the politicians to handle this situation correctly.

 Most colleges in the UK have now adapted to the new methodologies and are strategically working or trying to work with their LEPs. The situation varies quite significantly from area to area and the South West has been quick to grasp the nettle. There is evidence of good partnership between providers but equally the Government pilot to restrict or control or retain - you choose the words - five per cent of revenue funding is causing consternation. The reason for this is not that colleges aren't prepared to play ball but quite the opposite; it is because the Government keeps changing the ground rules. First it is identification of deliverables related to LEP priorities (approximately five per cent), then it is retention of five per cent of money locally, then it is five per cent of money nationally. Even if we were inept enough to accept this, there are no clear rules. So what if you over-perform? Now there's a question! Colleges and the Association of Colleges need to take a firm stance here. By the way we trust there will be equality here and the same mechanisms will be applied to private training providers?

Well, I'm in the mood now to deal with the maths and English issue and funnily enough I listened to a group of businesses last week lamenting the fact that they are interviewing young people with good qualifications, including GCSEs, but in interview they just can't sell themselves or converse appropriately. Not to worry - the Government strategy is to ensure more and more young people do GCSE maths and English, along with adult and Access students as well! As a mathematician I worry about this strategy. In my mind we need to ensure that every learner is exposed to sound learning skills, and that they achieve GCSE maths and English if they are capable of doing so, but we must not and cannot exclude the huge percentage of learners who will never achieve these qualifications but will be able to cope with a more technical, hands-on certificate. I am the first to admit that what is going on in our schools and colleges is not good enough for a variety of reasons but at least give us the opportunity to discuss and formulate strategy that has impact.
I was at the AoC Conference in Birmingham a fortnight ago and I had the opportunity to participate in a range of workshops and talks. I concentrated on the maths/English topic in the hope of achieving some common sense strategies; alas, this was not the result. The conference itself however continued to provide an enviable list of speakers and updating sessions which at the very least were helpful. As they say, a problem shared...

Christmas beckons and so does the analysis of Government strategy regarding quality of provision and associated cost benefit analysis. Here in North Somerset we are about to hear if we have been successful with regard to our new Enterprise College. We have also got a new Chief Executive of the Council who is keen on the key issues facing North Somerset from a skills and innovation perspective. The future is very exciting and contains plenty of management of change and calculated risk. Christmas is also three weeks away - I wish you all a Happy Christmas and successful New Year wherever you are.

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:


Upcoming FE Events

Advertiser Skyscrapers

Newsroom Activity

What does 'levelling up' really mean? How to...

Since the 2019 general election, 'levelling up' has been the government’s go-to slogan. The Queen’s Speech set out an ambition to "level up...

FE News: The Future of Education News Channel shared a video in channel. 1 hour 8 minutes ago

Edufuturists #143 - Co-founding Elon Musk's...

Joshua Dahn is the Executive Director and founder of Astra Nova School in Los Angeles, California. He is a co-founder of Synthesis, a company that...

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.


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.

 RSS IconRSS Feed Selection Page