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£15m fund launched to improve FE sector

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Wednesday 4th July 2018

A £15m fund aimed at improving the quality of education in the FE sector was launched last week by Skills Minister Anne Milton.

The Minister unveiled the main phase of the Strategic College Improvement Fund (SCIF) during the Association and Colleges conference, the website reports. The SCIF will match colleges in need of improvement with high-performing institutions, where the latter will share best practice advice in order to improve standards.

Colleges in need of improvement will be eligible to apply for a grant to work alongside a stronger ‘partnering’ college. Through their collaboration, the two colleges will devise a plan of action to deal with the problems they face.

Anne Milton commented: “We want to improve the quality of education for everyone. It is vital that all further education and sixth form colleges are able to give people the skills and knowledge they need to get on in their life and succeed in the workplace.”

She said she is thrilled to launch the fund, which will “enable colleges to work together to improve standards across all colleges.”

Before the SCIF was launched, a hugely successful pilot scheme saw fourteen colleges gaining grants totalling more than £2m. At the end of the phase, colleges reported the fund improved awareness of good practice, promoted mutual learning and allowed for rapid action to enhance quality.

The fund follows the launch of the National Leaders of Further Education and National Leaders of Governance programmes, also put together to share the expertise witnessed in some of the country’s best colleges.

Association of Colleges Director of Education and Skills Policy, David Corke, said: “[We have] long called for a peer improvement scheme for further education to match the one in schools. It was great to see the [DfE] pilot this and we are encouraged by the opening up of the eligibility criteria to allow more colleges to apply.”

The SCIF is funded by the DfE, administered by the Education and Skills Funding Agency and will be available until March 2020.

Source: is the UK’s number one FE job board, working with over 350 colleges and training providers and over 580,000 candidates.

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