From education to employment

Away from the Starter’s Pistol for the New Quality Agency in FE

The newly formed Quality Improvement Agency (QIA) has got off to a flying start by delivering on promises they made on their inaugural conference in June.

A consultation document released late last week details measures the fledgling body wishes to implement in Further Education to make it the “engine of the UK’s economic growth”. Entitled “Pursuing Excellence,” the consultation highlighted a network of advisers, new materials for colleges and the famed “Excellence Gateway” among others, as part of the new impetus to push forward quality and excellence within the vast chasms of FE.

Rammell Enthusiastic

“Driving up standards and tackling under performance are among the most important elements of the reforms we announced in our recent FE White paper, Further Education: Raising Skills, Improving Life Chances,” enthused Bill Rammell MP, Minister for Lifelong Learning, Further and Higher Education.

Clearly targeting the poorer performing colleges and providers, the Minister continued: “Students, employers and communities deserve the best from the Further Education system. And while there are many excellent colleges and training providers offering first-rate education and training for millions, we want to see an end to provision that is below the highest standards.”

Star Studded Cast

The Chair of the QIA, Sir Geoffrey Holland, highlighted the common principle binding the numerous bodies involved in the government’s fabled national improvement strategy. The strategy will include such bodies as the Learning and Skills Council (LSC), The Inspectorates, The Centre for Excellence in Leadership (CEL), Lifelong Learning UK (LLUK), Becta, The Skills for Business Network and the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA).

Sir Geoffrey said: “We each have our own targets and areas of expertise, but we share this common goal ““ to liberate the creative talent and enterprise of colleges and providers for the greater good of the students, communities and economies they serve. Further Education is pivotal to the Government’s aim of bringing social justice and economic prosperity to everyone.”


This Quality Improvement Strategy (QIS) has attracted widespread applause for its approach. “This strategy represents a real opportunity to clarify exactly who is responsible for translating the messages from inspection into tangible gains in quality and performance. I urge colleges and other providers to use the consultation to help shape the future of their sector,” explains Maurice Smith, Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Schools.

Rob Wye, Director for Strategy and Communications at the LSC, said: “Pursuing Excellence” provides a framework which will significantly contribute to a clearer understanding within the FE system of the journey towards excellence.”

Vijay Pattni

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