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General Secretary Paul Mackney Sets Out the Priorities for FE

In the week that Sir Andrew Foster set out his interim report on the progress of his governmental report on the FE sector, Mr. Paul Mackney, the General Secretary of NATFHE (The largest college lecturer’s union) established what he sees as the priorities for the future of the sector.

Mr. Mackney highlighted five issues that he feels will need to be addressed between now and the end of the review ““ namely, professional development, pay, funding, workforce data and the esteem of the sector. Only if these matters are tackled, he believes, will the sector thrive in the future.

Mr. Mackney says that pay levels must be maintained at better levels to guarantee a high level of recruitment and retention of staff. Similarly, funding between the HE and FE sectors will have to be brought onto an equal footing, with Association of Colleges figures claiming that the average college loses around £500,000 per year because of this gap.

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The professional development for staff within the sector must be maintained and improved upon, with Mr. Mackney expressing concern at stories of some staff members not being offered these opportunities. He calls for standardised and coherent data collection on the sector, and highlights the low esteem with which FE is often associated. His view is that this will continue as long as “poor morale is rife and annual industrial action over pay is the norm.”

Jethro Marsh

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