The Department for Education (DfE) has published proposals aimed at building stronger relationships with colleges and promoting more effective planning to ensure communities get the skills they need.
The Gov.UK website explains that the ‘bold’ strategic vision follows an independent review carried out by Dame Mary Ney, initiated after Hadlow and West Kent & Ashford Colleges went into education administration last year.
The review, published this week, examines how the government monitors colleges’ finances and financial management. This includes assessing the roles of the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) and Further Education Commissioner’s team.
The government has listed a series of actions in response to the report recommendations. These include:
- Stronger alignment between the ESFA and Further Education Commissioner
- Regular, strategic dialogue around priorities led by the Further Education Commissioner’s team and ESFA with all college boards, starting from September
- New whistle-blowing obligations for colleges, including making policies public on college websites
- A review of governance guidance to improve transparency
- A new College Collaboration Fund round
More changes will be announced in the FE White Paper, set to be published after the summer.
Apprenticeships and skills minister Gillian Keegan acknowledged that it’s more important than ever that colleges make sure students gain the skills they need to develop and meet the needs of companies and their local communities.
After welcoming Dame Mary Ney’s review, she said: “I’ve seen first-hand the exceptional work done by colleges across the country, and know what a key role they will play to support our economic recovery.
“I look forward to working with them and the wider sector to achieve a new vision for FE.”
Dame Mary Ney explained how the key finding from her review was the “need to shift to promoting the strategic role of the sector and to nurturing and supporting all colleges on an individual basis thus reducing the risk of financial problems recurring.”
She continued: “I am encouraged that the recommendations from the review are now being taken forward by the department, as part of the development of an ambitious strategy for the sector. I wish all in the sector well in their endeavours.”
In a recent FE speech, education secretary Gavin Williamson said the government will publish a White Paper detailing its plans to create a world-class, German-style FE system in Britain, which will strive towards high quality qualifications based on employer-led standards.
If you’re looking for your next role in FE, colleges are recruiting! See what vacancies are available today with FEjobs.