James Kirkup, Director of the Social Market Foundation

Not on the nine o’clock news 

A new paper supported by the Further Education Trust for Leadership highlights the UK media’s failure to understand or engage with further education

Further education gets a fraction of the coverage accorded to higher education in the UK media, with few journalists equipped either to understand it or to recognize the role it plays in national life, according to a new FETL-funded report from the Social Market Foundation.

James Kirkup 100x100Missing the story: the UK media’s neglect of Further Education, written by James Kirkup, Director of the Social Market Foundation, shows the extent to which further education is not ‘making the news’ and considers the ‘building blocks of a media culture that often simply cannot see FE or its role in the life of the country’.

It argues that the shift to graduate entry and the decline of regional journalism have contributed to the neglect of further education by the journalists who lead the national conversation. Politicians are likewise culpable in failing to talk about FE, the paper finds.

With few exceptions, peers and MPs talk much more about HE than FE.

ruth silver 100x100Dame Ruth Silver, President of FETL, said of the paper:

"The lack of understanding of further education among ministers and civil servants is matched only by the ignorance of most mainstream news journalists. While the specialist FE press punches above its weight, the majority of journalists – particularly national journalists – are remarkably clueless when it comes to how the other half learns. I hope that this report, that FETL is delighted to have supported, helps change this and at least pricks the conscience of those journalists who ignore it and the hugely important part in plays in the lives of millions of people around the UK.

"As James argues eloquently, news rooms are less diverse places now than they were 20 years ago, when people arrived into journalism from a range of non-graduate backgrounds, and the top jobs were not so dominated by Oxbridge graduates. The same might be said of our politics, dominated by privileged privately educated men and women who often went to the same schools and universities as the people who report on them. This seems to me hugely problematic, particularly in a society in which many millions of people already feel their voices are not heard and their concerns not taken seriously. We need to do better and accord proper respect to a sector that provides millions of young people and adults with a route into work, entrepreneurship and high-level technical and academic education."

Gavin OMeara 100x100 pixelsGavin O'Meara, CEO & Founder of FE News, said:

"I think James makes some really interesting points. I agree, traditionally journalists within local and national newspapers in general don’t have a strong understanding of FE, Skills and Employability. I think James is correct to highlight that most of these journalists are University graduates, with minimal personal experience of the FE sector or the impact of employability on individuals, families and communities. Nor are they have necessarily trained in the new emerging media that is thriving around us.

"However, recent focus from government has made a very significant positive shift towards FE, Skills and Employability, particularly since the Covid-19 crisis has struck. This has also challenged the main stream media to have to look seriously at these issues.

"Even before the pandemic FE, and particularly vocational skills, has had a very vocal champion through Steph McGovern, for several years now. Steph's role and influence on FE and Skills entering mainstream media, and the nation's consciousness should not be understated. 

"At FE News we have had exclusive articles written by Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak over the past four months, discussing the Lifetime Skills Guarantee and Rishi Sunak with the Plan for Jobs. Over the past 17.5 years of championing FE, Skills and Emloyability, FE News never had an article from a serving Prime Minister or Chancellor… let alone two different exclusive articles within a four month period!

"I think the world of news and journalism has had a huge shift with the rise of digital and social media. The fact is most newspapers and their publication teams were still living in an old newspaper model. The Government with their daily Covid-19 press briefings have now invited the general public to experience press briefings that traditionally only journalists would attend. Everyone has the information at the same time.

"Open journalism and social media (where anyone can report an event or incident live) has transformed media consumption. This is a model that traditional newspapers have struggled to adapt to, but it gives the opportunity to break down some of the communication barriers that have previously existed. This can be seen by the explosion of Thought Leadership activity across the web.

"FE News has had an open journalism model, highlighting thought leadership and promoting positive change from experts in the sector for over 12 years. This open journalism model enables many different view points and perspectives to be shared, it is not restricted by a political viewpoint from an editor, and offers a open and democratic media perspective. One problem with traditional journalism, is that are only shown a situation, or event through the lens of a particular journalist, or most particularly through the lens of the publication's editor.

"Investigative journalism is an area that traditional journalists can excel at, as this is a very specialist area of journalism. However, there is always the danger of creating sensationalism, which only serves to cast a negative shadow over a particular issue, without creating any beneficial dialogue.

"James rightly observes that: 'What gets written about gets talked about, and what gets talked about gets funded and scrutinised and analysed and improved.'

"However, as former Apprenticeships and Skills Minister Anne Milton recognises in a recent #SkillsWorldLIVE interview, this is far less effective if the main focus is on highlighting scandal and subterfuge within the very sector that we should all want to see succeed.

"Governance of media, and the long term outcome of what is communicated to society and politicians needs to be high in everyone’s mind, both for positive and negative coverage."

You may also be interested in these articles:

Sponsored Video

Advertisers

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 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.

Podcasts

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.

Events

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