A new Prime Minister, an exit from Europe, Area Review, devolution and a new Head of Ofsted. One wonders if the above parameters will gel together or whether it will be a cauldron of separate components.

If I add to the mix increased competition, growth of multi-academy trusts and the new white paper on Higher Education you may wish to consider where the pot of opportunity may be in the angst of the bubbling cauldron.

Either way, a sprinkling of the apprenticeship levy may point you in the right direction.

Further Education is unique, it is still the part of the education equation that creates dynamic success for individuals. It is time for Government to realise it is the jewel in the crown that enables aspirations to be realised and furthermore produce incredible value for money.

You only have to look at the salaries paid to FE lecturers compared to those in schools, academies and universities to realise the value of services we produce. Imagine a college that turns a failure at school/academy level into a young person with prospects, imagine the student with learning difficulties who gains the skills to enter employment, or imagine the thousands of A Level and Level 3 students who progress to employment and university.

In many parts of the country the number of A Level/Level 3 students in a college exceeds the combined total of all of the learners who study in all the local sixth forms in a local area. Am I biased? – yes I am, I have worked in every sector of education but FE is the best!

So why is FE facing such an interrogation at the moment with college mergers and amalgamations? Poor quality, poor financial management, lack of attention to the community? The answer is yes in part but having experienced area review and work with many other colleges I believe there are some key rules needed to ‘sort’ a college or give it that MOT for the future.

The following is my checklist:

  • Is the top tier management structure simple to understand but very strong?
  • Are levels 2 and 3 of the structure producing the back-up needed for tier 1?
  • What key reports are produced by the Principal for his/her top team?
  • What key reports does the Principal produce for the Governing Body?
  • How well do Governors understand the financial/quality targets?
  • Who is wagging the tail of curriculum? – hopefully not the MIS system!
  • Does the Principal meet regularly with staff?
  • How does the Principal assess the key delivery functions including staff appointments?
  • If this was your own business, with your own money, would you still take the same action?

In addition to the above I also look at additional support. I use my AoC Regional Manager for advice and when I need elements of consultancy I am very selective of getting someone who understands my College’s ethos. In many cases a consultant from industry gives better context then a precise FE advisor but not always. If I use a typical FE consultant I look very carefully at their career profile in terms of the management of change, financial and quality profile they brought when they were working full time. I find 80% are failed professionals but the other 20% are often quite exceptional.

In conclusion, it’s July and the end of another exciting and challenging academic year. Everything is changing but stability is everything - so quality, finance and putting the learners first remains paramount. I am privileged to work with so many talented people.

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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.

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