Tory politicians did themselves few favours at the AoC’s annual conference last month. Education secretary Damian Hinds failed to fill his scheduled keynote slot because of ministerial business and, due to a train delay, the normally enthusiastic skills minister, Anne Milton, read out a prepared script for 15 minutes and could take no questions before having to return to Westminster.
But appearances can deceive. What could have been regarded as a missed opportunity blossomed two weeks later into an exclusive 30-minute Q&A video session on YouTube between AoC boss David Hughes and the minister, who said she was disappointed she had not had time for a podium Q&A.
Putting the two sessions together, here’s the minister’s take on a selection of key issues affecting FE.
To underline the solid skills base of FE staff, Milton quoted from the government’s College Staff survey, published on the first day of the conference. The report revealed two thirds of teachers had been employed in industry before entering the sector as had 82% of principals and 73% of leaders. Milton said the government’s £5m Taking Teaching Further programme would be supporting up to 150 professionals from industry to become teachers.
Then she moved on to apprenticeships: the government’s new apprenticeship feedback tool had generated more than 4,000 responses from employers on the quality of their apprenticeship training providers. Milton said almost 90% judged their providers as good or excellent and that apprentices would soon also be asked to rate their providers.