Christmas is but days away, my local schools, academies and Universities are closed but irrespective the College continues to deliver teaching and learning!

I never cease to be amazed by the different terms and conditions between colleges and schools and it really is time that some equality was brought into play. Bah Humbug! I hear you say, but actually no just a necessity for fair play.

This first term has heralded dramatic change for the sector and if the Apprenticeship Levy was not enough, the introduction of T Levels and general uncertainty has not been an easy transition for any of us. I spoke with all my staff last Friday afternoon as I did feel the tide was turning however - most notably - it was the time in my view to reinforce basics.

It is often too easy to get carried away with the latest curriculum initiatives and forget about the fundamentals of each learner getting a good deal and being prepared for the next stage in their career. From a management perspective it is also the time to treasure our greatest resources – our staff and our learners!

I do enjoy the December part of the year – you just live for the year end accounts debate, the ILR return and the meetings of finance and audit committee! But seriously, it is seeing the student celebrations, the shows and the celebrations of success that makes everything worthwhile!

We will close for Christmas this Friday after an amazing term which has encompassed sadness, happiness, stress and challenges. No doubt January will provide even greater change management actions but for now, I wish everyone in the FE sector a happy, peaceful and relaxing Christmas with loved ones.

We work in the greatest sector in education!

Dr Paul Phillips CBE, Principal and Chief Executive of Weston College

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