Dr Paul Phillips

As a Principal of a large Further Education College in the South West I never cease to be motivated and totally impressed by the dedication and entrepreneurship of my staff. Throughout the COVID crisis they have seized the mantle of digital delivery and their attention to the care of learners and their progression is quite inspirational. It hasn’t mattered at what level staffing has been affected, the response has been the same – whatever needs to be done will be achieved. We have been absolutely privileged to have Gillian Keegan the Minister joining our ‘Virtual Microsoft College’ showcase environment and our end of term virtual staff meeting was both motivational and inspiring.

My role as Principal has also changed and now, I feel I know my staff even better than before. Issues of mental health, wellbeing, staff morale and ensuring the learning is still at the centre of all we do, has become even more focussed and crucial than ever. I despair at those who utilise COVID as an excuse for why progress can’t occur. It is a tragic situation, but that doesn’t mean we can’t achieve and catalyse change.

I have no doubt that every Principal in the country will be debating cash flow, return of learners and hitting the ground running. Equally, I can for the first time in months already see a change in the employer response to the Government announcements last week in regard to support for employers. Now the phones are starting to ring again! This is without doubt part of the kick start/regeneration mechanisms we need and achieving such a momentum will be crucial for the future. Gavin Williamson’s perspective on the German technical approach is also interesting and clearly reflects a new take on the real meaning of technical education, and we are proud to be leading as an Institute of Technology lead for the region. Slowly but surely a new era is dawning – I really hope it is one that really shows the value of our sector.

Are we, am I ready for the challenge? Is attention to skills taking on a further refinement – you bet we are – our sector has shown that we can mobilise resources at an instant, we transform lives and we grab nettles. Do we get stung? – of course we do, we are pioneers of change and moreover pivotal to the future skills agenda.

Meanwhile I look out of the window, the tide is in at our College in Weston-super-Mare and the sun is shining. People in masks walk along the seafront, apprentices are back in to complete assignments and a team of cleaners are hard at work cleaning – the ‘sanitisers’ as they are being referred to across the land – which makes them sound like a tv series from the 80’s with Tony Curtis and Roger Moore. But to me they are the new COVID heroes, making sure our staff and students are safe and I thank them every day. This is our new world for the time being and I am exceptionally proud to be leading the momentum to ‘Build Back Better’. Will the new approach from Government work? – it most definitely will – not because of buildings, no because of dictate, but because of the golden threads of commitment and entrepreneurship from education staff everywhere.

To use the adage of the right people, on right seats, on the right bus, at Weston College, we are piling into the bus (socially distanced of course) and ‘the momentum is on!’

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

You may also be interested in these articles:

End to end learner journeys – from initial to end-point assessments - #FutureOfAssessment Episode 4

Sponsored Video


Upcoming FE Events

Advertiser Skyscrapers

Newsroom Activity

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