FE News Update - 24 April 2019

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Free ESOL courses for Londoners coming soon 

Plans to offer Londoners free courses in English for speakers of other languages (ESOL) are part of a Greater London Authority (GLA) education drive from this autumn, reports FE Week. The GLA is taking over responsibility for the capital’s adult education budget in August and is reviewing ESOL funding which it says the government has slashed by 60% within the last 10 years. In a recent survey, some 210,000 Londoners of working age said they were unable to speak English very well. The GLA will first examine current ESOL provision before setting up courses that are due to take students up to entry level 3 and help bring them up to the standard required to receive British citizenship. London mayor Sadiq Khan is also using £4.5m from the European Social Fund as added support for the least literate and for professional development among ESOL teachers. 

T-level teacher training hubs to open this month

A scheme to help ensure T-level readiness among FE and post-16 providers and lasting up to March 2020 is being launched this month by the Education and Training Foundation (ETF). Three regional, government-funded ‘knowledge hubs’, run by the Association of Colleges, the Skills and Education Group and Creative Education respectively, will support teacher development networks and set up some 50 teachers regional improvement (research) projects to support teachers preparing to deliver T-level courses. 

College staff forced to resort to food banks

One in 50 FE college staff has resorted to using food banks because of low wages, according to a survey by the public service sector union, Unison. Admin and finance workers plus learning support staff are voting this week on whether to strike across 14 colleges across England in response to a 1% pay offer. Last July the Association of Colleges and TES surveyed English colleges to reveal that one in eight respondents were running food banks for students and that 86% were working in other ways to ensure students got enough to eat.

Free training for the digitally illiterate

Free training in basic IT skills is on the way for the 20% of UK adults who have little or no digital competence, reports FE News. Apprenticeships and skills minister Anne Milton this week launched a new set of qualifications designed to equip thousands to do simple tasks such as emailing, using a tablet computer or filling out forms online. Training will be available to anyone aged 19+ from next year. A further set of digital functional skills qualifications will be available in 2021 to help people move into jobs or further education and increase their everyday skills. According to Lloyds Bank’s 2018 consumer digital index, nine out of every 10 jobs coming up over the next 20 years will need some level of digital skill. 

Compiled by Richard Doughty

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