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Sector news, 30 August - 12 September 2015

Survey reveals principals’ unease with area reviews FE Week, 11 September 2015

Almost 90 per cent of principals affected by new area reviews are unhappy with government guidance outlining how the process will work, an exclusive FE Week survey has suggested.Huge unease with the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) and Department for Education (DfE) guidance was revealed in a survey of the 38 principals of colleges whose future has been put in question by the post-16 education and training reviews. One principal answered: “The most significant issue is the exclusion of school sixth forms, university technical colleges (UTCs), free schools and [independent] training providers from the reviews. This is not a review of the post-16 sector, but a partial review. It would appear that ‘wasteful duplication’ is [only] acceptable for A-levels and provision for the most able young people, even to the detriment of quality.”

Future of nearly 40 colleges in question as BIS and DfE reveals those facing area reviews FE Week, 8 September 2015

Twenty two general FE colleges will be involved in the first round of post-16 education and training area reviews announced by the government. The future of a further 16 sixth form colleges (SFCs) will also be assessed as part of the reviews taking place in Birmingham and Solihull, Greater Manchester, and Sheffield city region. Each review will start with an assessment of the economic and educational needs of the area, and the implications for post-16 education and training provision, also including school sixth forms and independent learning providers (ILPs). A BIS and DfE spokesperson said: “The reviews will focus on the current structure of FE colleges and SFCs, although there will be opportunities for other institutions [including schools and independent providers] to opt in to this stage of the analysis.” The reviews will be led by steering groups consisting of college chairs of governors, local enterprise partnerships, local authorities, regional schools commissioners, SFC Commissioner Peter Mucklow and FE Commissioner Dr David Collins.

Post-GCSE maths quals rolled out FE Week, 4 September 2015

Pilot qualifications in post-GCSE maths that were launched late last year have been fully rolled out by the Department for Education. The qualification, designed for use in the tech bacc, will be available to students who have already achieved a C or above in their maths GCSE, and is more practical in nature than the AS-level despite being of the same Ucas point value. The level three core maths qual was on offer to a number of schools last year, but has been made available to all schools and colleges from this month via City & Guilds, AQA, Pearson Edexcel, Eduqas and OCR.