Financial incentive schemes to help solve the shortage in FE maths teachers have left the government short of its target by at least 40%, reports FE Week. A Golden Hello scheme giving a £7,500 bonus to graduates to teach maths in FE after two years working in the sector only attracted 13 teachers in its first year 2015-16. A second scheme, in which providers were paid a £20,000 bonus if they hired a specialist graduate maths teacher, or £30,000 for “sharing their teaching expertise” with other local institutions, did better, attracting a further 280 teachers – but still leaving the government well short of its target of 500-plus.
The Association of Colleges’ sport championships were dominated this year by southern colleges, with the South-East team convincingly beating last year’s South-West winners. Some 1,650 students from 10 regions in England and Wales slugged it out over 13 disciplines. South-east’s cross-country, women’s basketball and men’s tennis and golf teams all won gold at the games hosted by the University of Nottingham, Trent Bridge and other Nottingham venues.
Student numbers have fallen this academic year in at least half of the 26 university technical colleges (UTCs) set up in 2014 or earlier, according to FE Week. At least 11 UTCs are only half full and seven have closed, or plan to do so, One problem is the entry age of 14, which parents are not used to. Another is the cutting of free transport for students attending UTCs by a number of local councils. Each UTC has cost some £10m each to set up and was part of the Conservative party’s 2015 election pledge to establish a college ‘near every English city’. Lincoln UTC was the worst affected with a 29% drop in student numbers in 2016-17 over the previous year.
College leaders at a dozen institutions are this year being paid a minimum of £200,000, a 50% increase on last year, reports TES. The magazine says fresh data issued by the Education and Skills Funding Agency also shows pay rises for principals and CEOs at almost 60% of English colleges, while their staff have been facing a pay freeze.
From September students entering more than half of the English sixth form colleges that responded to a recent survey will not be allowed to drop one of their A-level choices mid-course. The reason is funding cuts and the changed status of AS levels, according to the Sixth Form Colleges Association (SFCA) and TES. Students will have to continue with all three of their original subject choices. The SFCA research, which covered over half the country’s colleges, also shows 61% of colleges surveyed will be offering students three rather than four A-level choices as standard from September.