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FE News continue our quest to decipher the FE Industry for our readers

Further Education in Wales is an area of constant change and diversity, resulting in much confusion for those new to the sector. There are 95 FE providers in Wales, 27 of which are Further Education Colleges. Many of the large English organisations operate in Wales, providing opportunities and research benefits for those west of the border. We attempt to filter through the good and the bad and provide a helping hand for those lost in Welsh FE.

The Governing Bodies.

Education and Learning Wales (ELWa), officially named the National Council for Education and Training for Wales, is responsible for funding, planning and promoting all post-16 education in Wales, with the exception of Higher Education. It is funded via the Welsh Assembly and recently, in 2001, assumed the responsibilities of the Further Education Funding Council for Wales and all four of the Training and Enterprise Councils. It states it’s Key Goal as: “To give everyone over 16 access to flexible learning opportunities which enable them to participate fully in the economy and their communities”.

The Learning and Skills Development Agency (LSDA) began in November 2000 with the appointed mission to improve post-16 education and training in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. It does this through research and support programmes for institutions and organisations that deliver post-16 education and training. It provides a comprehensive training and conference programme and is the largest UK provider of training for governors, managers and lecturers.

Quality and Standards Boards.

OFSTED, the Office for Standards in Education, is responsible for the inspection of schools and, since 2001, has become responsible for all 16-19 education inspection. They inspect sixth form, tertiary, general further education and specialist colleges. The Adult Learning Inspectorate, ALI, (below) is now responsible for adult learners, while we report on 16-18 year olds.

The Adult Learning Inspectorate, as mentioned above, is responsible for inspecting on all state funded adult education, and can be commissioned to inspect on private learning institutions. They work closely with a range of other organisations, including OFSTED.

Notable others.

The Association of Colleges, AoC, acts as the collective voice of colleges throughout the UK. It is headed by John Brennan and is currently campaigning to end the funding gap between colleges and school sixth forms. It works closely with the Department for Education and Skills to further the interests of its members. The Welsh office is based in Cardiff and problems or questions should be directed to [email protected]

Alex Moore

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