From education to employment

Reporter Annabel Hardy

FE leaders have called for consistency and clarity in policy making between regions in a one-day conference held earlier this week.

Over 200 principals, chairs, governors and senior post-holders were invited to attend the Good Governance Forum, held in London on Tuesday 31st October, in order to debate key issues affecting the strategies in delivering best practice for students in the sector.

One of the issues concerned that of self-regulation versus government intervention; statistics revealed on the day indicated that while 52% of those polled would agree that having student governors on a governing body would help learner engagement, 60% decided in the negative.

A representative said: “We welcome self-regulation, greater responsibility and autonomy”. And when questioned on the development and application of such regulation, the reply was: “By us for ourselves – every governing body that signs up to this collective endeavour of trying to discover what that framework needs to look like for our sector. It’s for all of us to design and implement a sector of our choice”.

Panel member Jane Williams, Director of the Improvement Group with the Department for Education and Skills, said this issue of self-regulation was the forum’s most important theme of discussion during the day.

She noted: “It is a huge challenge for everyone to really put their effort behind this new emerging process. It’s about a new relationship or solution between frontline colleges and providers and the various arms of the state. We are very supportive of this work going forward ““ it must be led by the whole sector and we want to be as supportive as we can to that piece of work”.

Yet when questioned on the issue of student engagement, two-thirds (66%) agreed that not enough was being done to encourage student participation, with 32% believing the current balance to be correct.

And on the issue of the Learning and Skills Council, representatives commented that: “I think trust is an obsession among politicians looking for bad quality – the LSC is going to the lowest common denominator to ensure the worst doesn”t happen”.

Another noted: “I experience the LSC as very supportive. They do trust the colleges ““ the challenge is to bring a little bit more understanding and rigour to their own approach, to make sure that the credit is given where credit is due and to intervene where intervention is necessary”.

Panel members included Jane Williams, Director, Improvement Group, DfES; Lynne Sedgmore CBE, Chief Executive, Centre for Excellence in Leadership (CEL); Rob Wye, Director of Strategy and Communications, LSC; Dr John Brennan, Chief Executive, Association of Colleges (AoC) and Andrew Thomson, Chief Executive, Quality Improvement Agency (QIA).

Annabel Hardy.

Related Articles