'Don’t look at the commissioner as an executioner'

FE commissioner Richard Atkins says his team is on a mission to help colleges, and it brings unparalleled expertise to institutions that have failed Ofsted inspections or got into financial difficulties

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Portrayals of the role of the “FE commissioner” have varied from executioner to white knight – someone who goes into failing colleges either wielding an axe or riding to the rescue. The reality has always been different, but it is now quite radically so.

Since 2013, the FE commissioner has intervened in 75 colleges that have failed Ofsted inspections or reached a financial crisis. My team of former principals, finance directors and curriculum experts has developed unparalleled insight into the reasons for failure.

Skills minister Anne Milton has set me a higher goal to help more colleges be ...

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