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Why risk-averse success rates breed failure in colleges

Colleges settle for doing well in the lower levels because the system lacks ambition

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In December, the highly respected research organisation Education Datalab produced a report suggesting post-16 outcomes are worse in areas with colleges and without school sixth forms. Given the generally poor quality of guidance in schools, and our ability as colleges to put students on the most appropriate programmes, this felt wrong. But the credentials of the report’s authors are impeccable, so we need to take it seriously.

Clearly, there are some inherent issues with how these things are measured. The nature of our courses means even the brightest academic students at 16 begin some ...

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