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

Official publications of A level and other results, my first day back on site following a long period of virtual management and Welsh shielding- not actually over yet but quite frankly I could not wait any longer!

The examination results are by and large excellent and as expected - I expect some appeals as that is the external culture at present but the majority of my learners have already probably achieved the grades they needed for academic and employment progress apart from two subject areas which will need appealing!

As I write this article, I am waiting for ‘Points West’ the local BBC TV station to arrive at the College to cover our A Level results and I know the bulk of their questions will be around the process of grade estimation. The reality is that this was never going to be an ideal situation, but the Government are also between a rock and a hard place further exacerbated by the Scottish decisions taken earlier in the week. The use of mock exam grades to my mind to assist in an appeal process will achieve little - certainly when I taught A Level Maths my mocks were designed so that the best got a C this resulting in even more hard work from my learners who then delivered top grades in the real thing!

That aside, I have toured the campuses this morning and the Health & Safety systems are impressive, they told me I was ‘normal’ as I passed through the main reception- that’s a first, then I realised they were commenting on my temperature! Enough frivolity now it is down to business and checking all the rotas and plans for curriculum delivery and administrative support. We are using a mix of online systems and direct face to face for our applicants so as you can imagine systems are complex but very well thought out, by the teams responsible at the College.

Next week’s GCSE results again based on estimation are to my mind the start of a major set of challenges and that relates to what I would describe as ‘catch up’ of studies. The majority of these young people last had formal education delivery in schools and academies some 18 weeks ago, they did not receive the online ‘business as normal’ approaches from FE and we will need to analyse where they are on entry and put in significant support to bring them up to the required standard. We can do it, but I fear for the budgetary implications and the extra pressures this will create. Most of all I worry about the GCSE Maths & English results- we struggled accommodating learners previously but with social distancing etc this will be another world!!

So, are we ready for action? Our systems are ready and next week will give us the clearest indication around numbers and budget implications. Apprenticeships look to be badly hit and that is so sad given the sheer effort that both Government and Colleges/ Employers have put into the system. We are and we will need to ensure our business is structured to give the very best learning opportunities for everyone and therefore one should not underestimate the challenges!

This is not just a new year of new approaches for our College in Weston - it is much more as we embed a ‘new’ management team and set of approaches. I am optimistic for the future but also realistic on how I can stretch potential and achieve continued excellence across the organisation.

Equally with Gillian Keegan supporting our sector and you never know treasury starting to understand our work maybe change is on the horizon. One thing is sure there is only one sector that has resilience, goes above and beyond and creates opportunities for everyone… that’s FE and best wishes to everyone in and connected to our sector for the next academic year.

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

You may also be interested in these articles:

Sponsored Video


Upcoming FE Events

Advertiser Skyscrapers

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