David Hughes, Chief Executive, AoC

@AoCDavidH and the Association of Colleges respond to Gavin Williamson's plans for 2021 exams, teacher assessed grades for GCSE's and A-Levels. David also highlights the challenge of providing students on licence to practice courses, particularly how to prove competency in their chosen field

Commenting on today's statement from the Education Secretary, Gavin Williamson on the plan for students' grades now exams have been cancelled, Association of Colleges (AoC) Chief Executive David Hughes said

“We welcome the Secretary of State’s decision to move to teacher assessed grades for this summer’s public exams and the trust that shows in teachers professional judgements - they are best placed to do this and AoC has been calling for this to be planned as a contingency since September. We believe that this could help address the different levels of disruption to learning which different students have experienced.

"We welcome the opportunity to work with the government, Ofqual, awarding organisations and other representative groups to develop a workable and fair system for all students across all types of general, applied general and vocational/technical qualifications. It is vital that the proposed way forward is consistent and fair to every student because of the worry and confusion which abounds currently, particularly following the mixed message that January exams are going ahead while this summer’s exams are cancelled.

"As well as young people, there are around 250,000 apprentices and 1 million adult students studying for qualifications in colleges. Decisions for all qualification types need to be made and communicated as soon as possible, so we welcome the speed at which the government has committed to work on this.  Not only do the plans need to be fair, comprehensive, inclusive and robust; they also need to be agreed quickly, communicated clearly and be flexible enough to work in practice. Clarity is needed for students, but so is reassurance that they can trust the plans will be put into action and stuck to.

"This year’s system faces an enormous challenge of accounting for the differential disruption which students have already experienced over two academic years: differential lost learning time, differential access to digital devices and broadband off-site and the differential impact of sickness and self-isolation in different contexts. This is not easy to map, but it is clear that those who already face the biggest barriers to success are also the most affected by the impact of Covid-19. The pandemic has widened and deepened educational disadvantage gaps.

"There is an emerging issue too for students on licence to practice courses, who may not have been able to receive the level of training they will need to be able to show competency in their chosen field. This is a training as well as an assessment challenge which will need special attention urgently alongside the consultation."

AoC asks for:

  • A robust plan to be agreed as soon as possible for all qualification types with clear guidance for students, teachers and centres.
  • A national system of centre-moderated assessment combined with national moderation.
  • A special consideration process which allows centres to flag and quantify the level of disruption faced by students.
  • The resources available in the exam support service to be targeted at providing access to digital devices and broadband for those students who lack access so they can fully access online learning opportunities.

Urgent review of the lost training which licence to practice students have suffered which might hamper their ability to meet the competencies required in their chosen fields

You may also be interested in these articles:

Sponsored Video


Upcoming FE Events

Advertiser Skyscrapers

Newsroom Activity

Impetus #YouthJobsGap

Our Youth Jobs Gap research shows youth unemployment is far from being yesterday’s problem. Our findings are stark – disadvantaged young people are...

FE News: The Future of Education News Channel had a status update on Twitter 55 minutes ago

RT @CityGuildsGroup: I am cautiously optimistic about the nod towards more regional autonomy set out in the whitepaper and hope the College…
View Original Tweet

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 May 2020, FE News had over 120,000 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.

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