News Update - 21 November 2018
Labour will end maths and English resits
Shadow education secretary Angela Rayner told the AoC annual conference this week that a new Labour government would throw out the controversial compulsory maths and English GCSE resits. She also said Labour would insist on student board representation on both the Institute of Apprenticeships and the Office for Students. Earlier, education secretary Damian Hinds had pulled out of the conference after being due to give the first main keynote address of the day, citing ministerial business. In addition, skills minister Anne Milton read out a 15-minute speech but took no questions after her train had been delayed as she had to return to London immediately.
Good news on college standards
Despite a continuing funding squeeze, 76% of general FE colleges are now ranked ‘outstanding’ or ‘good’ by Ofsted with no institution in the ‘inadequate’ category, reports FE Week. Analysis of inspection results shows a 7% rise in colleges rated in the first two categories compared with figures in 2016-17, with 19 colleges making the leap to ‘good’ in 2018. The figures suggest continuing progress in standards across the sector, despite partly being explained by the fact that several colleges previously rated inadequate automatically lost their low ranking after merging with other colleges and becoming a different entity.
UTCs face crisis from under-recruitment
Well over half of university technical colleges (UTCs) have relied too heavily on over-optimistic expectations of pupil recruitment numbers and could now be expected to return government funding of more than £6.5m, according to FE Week. Five UTCs out of the 30 in the red each have debts of more than £0.5m.
Government calls Saatchis to boost apprenticeship appeal
Top advertising agency Saatchi and Saatchi has been appointed to revitalise the government’s flagging apprenticeship programme, reports TES. Skills minister Anne Milton earlier this year appeared to put maintaining quality of apprenticeship provision above reaching the government target of 3m apprenticeship starts by 2020. But the government still seems committed to its goal, first announced before the apprenticeship levy was introduced in April last year.
Our EU colleagues have to stay, says AoC
The Association of Colleges (AoC) is pressing the government to allow some 7,000 college staff from other EU countries to remain in Britain after Brexit, reports TES. A new AoC report, Brexit and Colleges, calls for any new immigration system to recognise the priority that teachers are needed to educate and train the future UK workforce. It estimates that 4% of FE college teachers are non-UK EU citizens.