Chris Wimshurst is education director at Morgan Hunt

FE is about to undergo change, an uncomfortable change that colleges are urged to participate in.

The FE East Coast Swing is about to rock'n'roll following the admission by the education minister that it is in a 'fragile state'.

In layman's terms this means college finances are stretched, in some cases with excruciating losses. Many in FE believe this to be a funding crisis, the Government does not.

To get this 'fragile' situation sorted the Government wants all colleges to take part in area-based reviews. It is not looking to cut current funding, this has already be done, which is why some would say, they are where they are. What the Government have been clear about is that they want funding better managed, with better education outcomes; they want cake.

What has been acknowledged so far is that post 16 colleges, in general, are in a pickle and the 'fragile' talks and area reviews give an indication to the strategic mind-set behind recent activities.

Post 16 reviews will be taking place throughout the country with financial efficiency as a primary driver. Collaboration between colleges is being sought comprising a vision on what an area needs as a whole, including provision and greater specialism.

Strategy goes before structure

What is being challenged is the whole structure of FE. In commercial enterprise nothing changes without having a clear strategy in place first; when organisational strategy changes, structure follows, with roles and functions being realigned to the new objectives. So herein lies the challenge of the FE collaborative deal.

Change is always unsettling; for staff, for students, for parents, and for the local community; it's hard to visualise and hard to drive through with so much personal stuff at stake.

On the table as an outcome of the reviews is curriculum rationalisation; restructuring is not ruled out and bubbling in policy background is talk of a specific strategy for technology, more local control and an education emphasis that leads to employment.

Outcomes may lead to Government intervention and that could be significant for some colleges and as a review can be triggered by a proactive proposal it's worth a college getting involved.

Colleges would be wrong to think this is a chance to pitch in for more money the 'fragile' truth is that the Government is not envisaging any more, this is not the purpose of the exercise but they do want support from businesses through local partnerships.

An overall assumption from the area reviews is that colleges will be saving money and thus any change will be funded from future surplus of the savings, local business partnerships and local authorities. Local authorities will be expected to provide money too from their skills budgets so colleges can make the changes.

Examples are already being made across the country; in North East Norfolk and North Suffolk five colleges are collaborating following a review earlier this summer. Between them they were facing a deficit of over £1.3m. The financial challenge was clear but when this was combined with a falling college age population in the area it became a 'no brainer' decision to merge.

The same with three colleges in east London that were facing £3m in cuts and accumulated annual losses of £4m they too decided to join forces.

Why colleges need to be involved

Periodic change whatever the institution is always necessary because over time structures become dysfunctional, schizophrenic, given changing demographics, economics and politics. FE change will depend on the catchment areas and collective college demographics and curriculum. Curriculum rationalisation may be part and parcel of the new wholesale design.

Colleges need to get involved to take care of the nitty-gritty implications that comes with change that visionaries tend to overlook; they see the forest not the trees, like the impact on jobs, travel, access, accommodation and recruitment. The latter as Morgan Hunt knows only too well, being a major consideration for any college.

Whole area strategies will be under discussion looking at how collectively colleges can achieve synergies. The emphasis on technology will see technology specific institutions set up where economies of scale can be gained.

Student marginal cost across courses and campuses can dramatically improve finances and indicate where economies can be made.

Compromise will indeed need to be made but getting involved and being part of the FE Boogie-woogie is always better than standing on the sidelines.

Chris Wimshurst is education director at Morgan Hunt, which works in partnership with the FE sector, offering consultancy around recruitment solutions from lecturers to principal level

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

Sharon Walpole added a new event yesterday

CareermapLive: An Introduction to WorldSkills UK...

During this live webinar, you'll have the opportunity to learn about our skills competition development programme which provides colleges,...

  • Wednesday, 28 April 2021 03:30 PM
  • Online Event, UK

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 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.

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