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In brief

New skills for life

A million adults are expected to receive basic skills training in the next phase of the Skills for Life programme. Basic skills are to be linked with vocational training, and poor numeracy is to be tackled. Sion Simon, the minister for further education, said: "Current economic conditions make it even more crucial that people have the numeracy and literacy skills they need for work and for helping their families."

Since 2001, nearly 3 million adults have received basic skills training as part of Skills for Life.

More do unpaid hours

More teaching staff in FE are working unpaid overtime, but each lecturer's hours have reduced, according to an analysis by the Trades Union Congress.

Compared with five years ago, an extra 11,500 staff worked beyond their contracted hours without extra pay, the TUC found from a study of government statistics.

But the average lecturer's unpaid overtime fell by over half an hour a week in 2008, making a weekly total of 8 hours 18 minutes, lower than the average of 11 hours for all teaching professionals.

Forum leader sought

The Sixth Form Colleges Forum is to recruit a chief executive in anticipation of its new legal status. With sixth form colleges being defined as a new sector of education from April next year under the Apprenticeship, Skills, Children and Learning Bill, the forum is offering a "significant salary" to develop a vision for its members. The aim is also to maintain the quality of sixth form colleges while expanding their numbers.

Back to the workplace

A group of 500 lecturers have returned to the workplace to brush up their industry skills in a programme run by Lifelong Learning UK. The sector skills council for the education workforce linked teachers from 226 training providers with more than 471 businesses as part of their professional development, with most reporting that they had gained new skills and a better knowledge of their vocational area.

Rob Moyle, a lecturer in mechanics at Truro College, in Cornwall, said returning to industry had helped to bring him up to date and forge new links with business. "Business Interchange is a brilliant way of doing your CPD, with real practical benefits," he said.

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