The EU referendum is on 23 June and the campaign is in full swing. Without doubt this is an important vote. The ‘leave’ camp believe that the uncertainty an exit would engender in the business community and elsewhere will be negligible and short lived. Their case is that returning areas of sovereignty and repatriating cash we give to the EU will help make Britain richer, more secure and more influential. The ‘remain’ camp argue the opposite. To back up their arguments both sides drench the public with a blizzard of data. Economists and business leaders write letters to the broadsheets backing one side or the other. The ‘truth’ is hard to glean. And I believe that is because there is no absolute truth in this debate merely argument.

And I would describe the argument rather differently. I believe the UK has two broad traditions – one atavistic and one progressive. I also believe that the leave camp are firmly making the case for the former while the remain camp have failed thus far to really make the case for the latter. The atavistic case runs something like this. There was a golden age of yore when Britain ruled the world. We gave the world democracy, our language, the rule of law and brought many enlightenment values to bear on parts of the globe shadowed in feudalism and worse. By leaving we can repatriate cash we now give to Europe, reclaim the ability to rule ourselves and strike relationships and deals around the world. We can also pull up the drawbridge, as we had to do during the second world war, and stop uncontrollable economic migration from blighting our cities, towns and villages. This is a vision of Britain in total control of its own destiny as we last were….well…. at the end of the 19th Century. This is why it is an attractive fantasy no more.

On the other hand the progressive view recognises the profound changes to the world order since 1945 and the advent of the Pax Americana. Britain is interdependent on other countries in a way that is growing not lessening. The lessons of the second world war were about that need to reinforce interdependency to secure peace. Trade was a laggard in this respect but globalisation is just a fancy name for the spread of economic power blocs and mass migration. Moreover the progressive view understands the tradition of internationalism that was at the heart of the 18th Century enlightenment, which in turn enabled the industrial revolution and created the very democracy we now revere. Independence today can only be secured through the recognition of the complex web of interdependencies a modern democracy must manage. The EU is a recognition of this fact. Nobody would argue it does not need reform. It does. But that is not a case for turning our backs on something we need to be at the heart of.

So why should FE vote to remain? As educators, who believe that our mission is to prepare our students for the world of work, then voting to leave the EU which could trigger (in Mark Carney’s words) a technical recession and higher unemployment would make our jobs harder. As educators who vow to help people gain meaningful careers, creating a world of fewer jobs does not make sense. Unemployment is never a price worth paying.

Second FE is the most welcoming and diverse of sectors. We understand how well people from every background can work together and create new possibilities. We welcome people and their creative energies from every community in our society and we understand how that enriches all of us. Turning our backs on the rest of Europe would make little sense when we know how innovation is so well sparked by difference and diversity.

Third Further Education Colleges are themselves progressive enlightenment institutions. They have always been about creating chances for those who might otherwise not have a chance. They nurture many of the EU and other migrants who come to these shores and lest we forget EU migrants contribute £2.6 billion net to the Exchequer each year.

So on 23 June I hope that as many people as possible who work in FE vote, and I would urge you to vote remain. It will be disastrous for our democracy if turnout is low and it will create many years of uncertainty (at best) if we vote to leave the EU. This referendum is ultimately a choice to remain engaged rather than disengaged; to cede some sovereignty in order to gain greater security and stability, and to embrace diversity over monoculturalism. Progress has never been made without discomfort or trade-offs between competing self interests. At the least the European Union provides a mechanism to do this safely.

Nick Isles

Nick is Chief Executive of Corporate Agenda and independent advice consultancy


Sponsored Video

Register, Login or Login with your Social Media account:


Upcoming FE Events

Advertiser Skyscrapers

Newsroom Activity

Trust is very powerful, as the article suggests. The question is, how to develop trust in a work...

AELP Webinar Team added a new event 9 hours

Flexi-jobs, ATAS and Apprenticeships

Overview Following recent consultations by the Department for Education, a new flexi-jobs apprenticeship scheme will be piloted from July 2021....

  • Thursday, 03 June 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