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Are you ready for big changes in FE? FE Soundbite Edition 753.

FE Soundbite 753, are you ready for big changes in FE ?

Welcome to FE Soundbite Edition 753, July 6th, 2024: Are you ready for big changes in FE?

This is the weekly e-newsletter and e-journal by FE News: ISSN 2732-4095. We know life is busy, so here is a snapshot of the latest announcements and epic thought leadership articles, from sector influencers and cool thinkers across FE and Skills this week on FE News

Gavin’s Reflective Perspective

So no big surprise, but Labour have won the General Election. We have our famous Sector Reaction piece on the General Election with multiple FE and Skills sector perspectives on the announcement and what does this mean for the FE and Skills sector?

The first thing that our new Prime Minister, Keir Starmer said was “change begins now”. So that is all pretty immediate then! It shouldn’t be a surprise as Change was the strap line on the Labour Party for the entire General Election period. … but what does Change mean? Honestly, I don’t know.

So we have heard the plans, read the manifesto… but are we ready for big change in FE and Skills? Are we ready for changes to Apprenticeships and the Apprenticeship Levy? So how flexible is the Flexible Growth and Skills Levy going to be? Will this still involve higher level Apprenticeships, will this cover all ages? What other things could be included. Are micro-credentials? Are short courses? Which courses? The Apprenticeship Levy reforms to help SMEs and Young People… will this now be scrapped? Controversial view… Will it still cover Apprenticeships.. as Apprenticeships will no longer be in the name? … surely not! Truth it… Erm, I dunno?

Are we ready to explore the Youth Guarantee?… a guarantee normally means things need to be guaranteed to happen and it would appear to be us as a sector delivering this. So we need to know more about this to fulfil our side of the bargain / delivery. Are we ready?

Are we ready for Skills England… so what is it going to be exactly… is it a think tank or is it a rebrand of IfATE… or something else? Dunno actually?

Are we ready for FE Colleges to be specialist Technical Excellence Colleges? So what are these again? I think the term first come on our radar in early October 2023… but I am not sure I can confidently say what they are exactly… are we ready for the new Technical Excellence Colleges?

Are we ready for more Careers Advice and Guidance in Colleges and Schools? I’d say.. erm definitely not! What if this naturally extended to all age careers advice (I’d love this)? Are we ready?

What courses and qualifications are going to be delivered now and in the future?

Are we ready to communicate all of this to staff, to learners, to employers, to parents?

So we know change is coming, are we ready for it? In reality, I’d say probably not, as we haven’t received all of the details and they probably haven’t been fully ‘fleshed out’ yet. One thing I do know, is that the FE, Skills, Lifelong Learning, Post 16, Work Based Learning, Employability and Careers Advice and Guidance sector… as a sector we are used to change. As a side note… if a load of change is happening anyway.. Do we maybe need a new name to cover the richness and depth that we deliver as a sector? As we often refer to ourselves as the sector.. which anyone outside it doesn’t know what it means. Do we get a new name that makes sense to people… and hopefully us? Dunno?

Is it going to be surface level change, or real from the ground up change? Dunno?

One thing I do know, is get ready for change… as it is coming!

One thing we do know… is that Bridget Phillipson (former Shadow Education Secretary), has been confirmed as our new Education Secretary after the election. So all of the above plans will not be new to Bridget as she was working on these as Shadow Education Secretary.

Exclusive Thought Leadership

Our Top 3 Thought Leadership Articles This Week

Firstly Working with the sector for impact Dr Vikki Smith, Executive Director, Education and Standards, at the Education and Training Foundation works with the FE and Skills sector to drive professionalism, improve teaching and learning, champion inclusion, and enable sector change.

Secondary Opening Doors: Strategies for Inclusive Hiring By Sarah Aray, Public Relations and Communications Officer, Happy Autistic Lady provides strategies for inclusive hiring of neurodivergent candidates, such as asking clear questions, avoiding jargon, providing questions in advance, offering flexible interview formats, and sharing a clear agenda.

Finally The Messy Work of Changing the World By Dr Lou Mycroft, Co-Director FE Constellationsa nomadic educator, writer, and Green Changemaker explores the challenges and importance of changemaking work in the context of the climate emergency, highlighting the role of FE in developing green skills and the use of the Thinking Environment approach to facilitate collaboration and communication.

This Week, We Have Also Had Some Other Epic Exclusives!

Multigenerational Learning: The Benefits and Challenges of Pursuing Higher Education with a Family By Mr Sarwar Khawaja Chairman, Executive Board, Oxford Business College

The GCSE Maths Resit: Groupthink and Survivor Bias By Grant Hubbard, University and College Lecturer in Mathematics, BSc(Hons) MSc(MRes) Mathematics

What’s New in the World of FE?

Check out our Top 3 Thought Leaders of June 2024!

NCFE’s Aspiration Awards

Ellie Burke, the Aspiration Awards Apprentice of the Year, shares her story By NCFE

Simon Sharratt, Support Staff of the Year for the Aspiration Awards, shares his story By NCFE

Michael Wells, Aspiration Awards Against All Odds winner, shares his story of overcoming the odds to retrain and reskill By NCFE

Pauline Strong, Educator of the Year at the Aspiration Awards, shares her story of swapping Police work for coursework By NCFE


Seven cool experts sharing their hopes and dreams for the future of End Point Assessment: What would you like to see in the future of EPA? | #EPA2024 By Federation of Awarding Bodies(FAB)

Susanna Lawson: Driving Technological Change in Education By OneFile

Sue Thexton on Leading OneFile and Harnessing Technology for the Future By OneFile

John McNamara’s EPA 2024 Interview


The new government should reverse the new condition of funding on GCSE resits, By AoC


Where the skills sector stands now Manifestos have been published By Nichola Hay MBE, Director of Apprenticeship Strategy and Policy at BPP

UK Democracy Is In ‘Crisis’ And We Need Action To Restore Public Trust And Confidence By Stephen Lambert, Director of Education4Democracy CIC.

Votes For 16-17-Year Olds Or National Service At 18? By Stephen Lambert, Director of Education4Democracy CIC.

New Diploma in Teaching (Further Education & Skills) qualification: elevating standards in further education By Ann Gravells and Gavin Lumsden

Bridging the IT Skills Gap and Seizing Opportunities By Helen Maxwell, UK Business Development Manager at NCC Education

Levelling up Manchester’s Global Tech Footprint By Arden University

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By Gavin O’Meara, CEO & Founder, FE News & FE Careers (a new FE Careers is coming soon)!

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