Thirteen of the final shortlist of 16 bids for funds to create the new institutes of technology (IoT) are headed by colleges, according to the Department for Education. FE Week reports that colleges hoping for a share of the government’s £170m IoT funding pot should know by the end of this year if they will be involved in any of the expected 10-15 institutes, the first one of which is due to open in September 2019. Colleges shortlisted are South Essex, Weston, York, Milton Keynes, West Suffolk, Barking and Dagenham, North Warwickshire and South Leicestershire, Solihull, Swindon, Dudley College of Technology, Newcastle College Group, Harrow and Uxbridge colleges, and New College, Durham. The three HE-led bids are from Exeter, Lincoln and Queen Mary universities.
The ending of most industrial action over pay disputes between University and College Union (UCU) members and 10 colleges across England, has led to a resumption of negotiations between the Association of Colleges (AoC), representing colleges, and FE unions on their 2018-19 pay claim. TES reports that the UCU hopes the move will lead to a ‘decent offer’ for college staff who have seen pay levels eroding for the last few years, while the AoC says it wants to continue to press the government to recognise the value of the workforce and fund FE appropriately.
The government’s GCSE maths and English resit policy have come under renewed fire after its own figures show huge efforts by colleges to improve pass rates are having little effect, reports TES. The success rate for young people failing their GCSEs (or equivalent level 2s) at 16 but then passing them by age 19 was 25.8% in 2016-17 - just 1.5% up on the previous year. This means three-quarters of all teenage resitters never achieve passes in both subjects. In response, the Association of Colleges is calling for an urgent policy review and more funding to support other ways of improving young people’s maths and English skills “rather than focusing on an assessment hurdle” that sees so many young people “experiencing failure year after year”.