Avid readers of this website will have heard me say in the past that in terms of cuts to the FE sector, we can't cut the salami ever thinner and indeed the picture for 2015/16 is looking particularly bleak.

Colleges are facing unprecedented levels of cuts and while they are doing their best to bring further innovation into curriculum and make maximum usage of the electronic agenda it is the additional burdens of changes in National Insurance/pension costs that will I believe be the real nails in the coffin for many providers. How do Colleges already in difficult financial circumstances cope with these added stresses if they have already made major changes to their modus operandi?

At the AoC conference of November in Birmingham I listened to the words from the political parties and in essence they told me what I already knew- that there is not a wealth of innovation in existence and that a lack of clarity pervades an already confused environment. Simultaneously when we hear the words from the new President and listen to the advice from the FE Commissioner it is clear that they are part of the change vehicle but are their messages for instance around Maths and English getting through to Central Government? I worry that fundamental rights to both education and health are being eroded away dramatically. So how do we address these key issues with a distinct lack of money on the table? For me it will sadly be through further restructure, further analysis of curriculum construct and great investment in the electronic agenda. Hereon in, however, every time we chip away we are probably going to start eroding quality and then we will clearly be in danger of not putting the learner first. Within my own college many staff are working excessive hours in order to combat such a risk but with such a strategy I worry for the whole issue of wellbeing of my staff. They are able and proficient in what they do and have shown ingenuity in their development of learning programmes.

Ofsted is changing as well and putting a new framework out for consultation. It is clear that it will be even more rigorous than at present but I welcome the approach because at face value it looks as though this is a model that will be applicable right across the education sector and I have to say it is remarkably similar to the current approaches applied to Further Education colleges. I look forward to seeing the response of the other sectors. It doesn't apply to Higher Education of course due to the QAA approaches in place but imagine if it did...

So after having had a bit of a rant what am I advising back at the ranch? Basically it's business as normal but with everyone re-examining curriculum construct, back up plans and use of partners. I don't want to pre-empt our investigations and subsequent analysis but I do think that this won't be enough and that we will need to think completely outside of the box. I was feeling quite deflated on the issue until last week when the lead for Hairdressing and Beauty at my college gave a presentation to staff on how the area was handling the current issues and the future. There was a glimpse of tenacity, entrepreneurship and full adoption of technology which suggested to me that there is still light at the end of the tunnel. A word of caution however that light could be another express train of funding changes hurtling towards us! Ah well back to the real job now but not without consideration given to the thousands of FE practitioners out there both front line and support that change young people's lives and ambitions on a daily basis.

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

AELP Webinar Team added a new event 14 hours

Good Strategy, Bad Strategy

Overview Rumelt lays bare an uncomfortable truth: Most companies have strategies that are quixotic, muddled, and undifferentiated. This is hardly...

  • Tuesday, 03 August 2021 10:00 AM
  • Online

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