FE news at a glance

Emergency loans to be offered to troubled colleges

Further education colleges in serious financial trouble could receive loans from the government, it has emerged. A new document from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and the Skills Funding Agency sets out how they will protect provision in "exceptional circumstances" if a college runs out of money and cannot borrow from banks. Colleges can apply for short-term loans repayable in three months, medium-term loans repayable in a year and longer-term loans with no repayment date. However, the paper also warns that colleges should not expect financial support and that any help could trigger intervention by the FE commissioner.

Two-thirds of college students say no to university

Less than a third of college students want to progress to higher education, according to a new survey. A University and College Union (UCU) poll of more than 2,000 young people aged 13-17 found that just 31 per cent of the college students who responded wanted to go on to higher education, compared with 62 per cent of the state-school pupils and 78 per cent of the private-school pupils. Only 66 per cent of the college students thought that getting a degree was important, compared with 82 per cent of those educated in state schools. The UCU said that universities should improve the way they engaged with pre-university students.

New FE foundation celebrates a `strong first year'

The fledgling Education and Training Foundation (ETF) says it has had a "strong and successful" first year. In a document looking back on the first 12 months of the organisation, which is dedicated to enhancing the status of the FE and skills sector, chief executive David Russell says it has reached some "major milestones". These include creating new professional standards, training more than 2,200 extra maths specialists, collecting better workforce data and introducing the premium graduate initial teacher education scheme, he writes. Last month, the ETF took on the work of the defunct Institute for Learning and is developing a new membership body.

Government hits 2 million-apprentice mark

The government has met its target of creating 2 million apprenticeship starts during the current Parliament, it was revealed this week. Announcing the news on Tuesday, business secretary Vince Cable said: "This important achievement highlights the continued success of apprenticeships since May 2010 in giving people the skills they need to get on." To mark the occasion, he visited the 2 millionth apprentice, Paige McConville. The 16-year-old took the business secretary on a tour of FMB Oxford, the scientific engineering firm where she is undertaking her apprenticeship, and Abingdon and Witney College in Oxfordshire, where she studies.

Zoo licence makes Bicton a beast of a college

Bicton College will be able to show off its exotic animals collection to the public after being granted a zoo licence. The Devon agricultural college's animal husbandry school, which houses ring-tailed lemurs, skunks and alpacas, plans to host open days for community groups and schools. Sue Merrett, the college's head of animal care, said: "Our students will take a primary role in handling the animals and presenting to the public, providing them with real-world training to further embellish the skills they present to future employers."


In last week's TES, we wrote that our columnist Sarah Simons teaches at an FE college in Mansfield. This is not the case. Ms Simons works across many different FE institutions in the East Midlands.

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