FE teachers cite workload and lack of time for continuing professional development (CPD) as the main barriers to career progression, according to a survey by the National Foundation for Educational Research. Respondents also mentioned a lack of management encouragement, promotion or development opportunities and focused subject-specific CPD. Only 10% said they had found no barriers.
One in three said more on-the job experience, training courses and support of a mentor/coach or line manager were key elements needed to fulfil their career aspirations, thereby fuelling the most common reason given by respondents for working in FE: “Enjoyment in working with young and adult learners, inspiring the next generation and helping them realise their potential.”
Just under a fifth of the £5.5m in government grants awarded to colleges preparing for merger has gone to institutions that have failed to merge or have significantly changed their original proposals, reports FE Week. The details appear in a list of some 83 grants made by the end of May this year, published by the Education and Skills Funding Agency. The largest grant for £200,000 supported the creation of a single college in Cheshire from four colleges, although subsequently only two colleges – South Cheshire and West Cheshire – have merged.
Greater student movement in the form of far more transfer agreements between FE colleges running vocational training courses and universities offering first-degree programmes could increase opportunities to access higher education in England, reports TES. Research from UCL Institute of Education/Birkbeck College and US partner Columbia University, states that despite FE colleges catering for some 8.5% of HE students in England, they are rarely mentioned in government reform documents. Currently, vocationally qualified students are more likely to drop out from or simply never attend university. The researchers say much could be learned from the US approach to creating more diverse student bodies, particularly in selective institutions, which understand the many advantages to be gained by students from different social backgrounds living and learning together.
One in three HE providers gaining a 100% student satisfaction rating in this year’s National Student Survey are FE institutions, reports TES. Eight colleges (Aylesbury, Boston, Newbury, Seevic, Southampton City, Stanmore, West Lothian and Pembrokeshire) and two sixth-form colleges (Cardinal Newman and Cirencester) are among 30 institutions to earn full-hearted student approval in the annual survey produced by the Higher Education Funding Council for England. More than 300,000 students responded from 530 universities and colleges. A dozen universities, including Oxford and Cambridge, do not appear in the survey because less than half their final-year first-degree students completed the survey questionnaire.