News Update - 27 November 2018

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Leading college group bucks trend on salaries

One of the largest college groups in England, Capital City College Group, has bucked the austerity trend by agreeing to pay staff up to a 5% increase in salary, reports FE Week. This is despite the fact that the increase will create a projected ‘short-term’ £2.3m deficit for the year 2018-19. (Prior to the announcement, the group’s new boss, Roy O’Shaughnessy, had already waived his right to an annual bonus.) A University and College Union spokesperson said each staff member would see an average £140 extra in their monthly pay cheque, with the full 5% increase going to staff earning under £55,000, and 3% to those on between £55,000-£76,000, but no rise for anyone paid a higher rate. The London-based group, comprising three colleges – City and Islington, Westminster Kingsway, and Haringey, Enfield and North-East London – said the move was a start in efforts to close the pay gap between executive and normal staff pay levels.

 

DfE survey signals T-level problems ahead

In the first FE staff survey ever undertaken by the DfE, some 42% of responding teachers said they were considering quitting the sector within the next year, including around 47% of digital and 22% of construction teachers, according to FE Week. The survey, which will help inform policy and the introduction of T-Levels in 2020, has highlighted college difficulties in recruiting and retaining staff teaching these two subject pathways – two of the first three T-levels to be offered from September 2020.  

 

Fewer colleges in trouble

Only eight colleges needed formal intervention last year, compared with 20 the year before, according to the FE Commissioner’s 2017/18 annual report. FE Week reports that five of the institutions were facing financial problems, while the other three were referred following a diagnostic assessment. None of the colleges had been graded ‘inadequate’ by Ofsted. However, commissioner Richard Atkins said 2018-19 would be another challenging time for colleges, given the imminent introduction of insolvency measures, and the phasing out of the current restructuring facility and any more exceptional financial support. Atkins said it’s more important than ever “to plan ahead, and create robust and realistic forecasts of future revenue”.

 

Endpoint assessment still not universal 

Out of the 325 apprenticeship standards already approved, over a quarter do not yet have measures in place to end-point assess apprentices deemed job-ready, reports TES. Mark Dawe, who heads the Association of Employment and Learning Providers, says warning signs over the past two years indicate the apprenticeship scheme will hit the buffers and lose credibility if setting up assessment organisations for 89 standards continues at its current slow rate. In response, the Department for Education and the Institute for Apprentices (IfA) say measures are being taken to offer all apprentices assessment when they are ready and that only a few apprentices currently coming to the end of their training within the next year are still without an assessment structure in place.
 

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