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Further afield

YPLA could launch post-16 `pupil premium'

The Young People's Learning Agency (YPLA) has said it is considering developing a "pupil premium" for post-16 students to match the scheme for schoolchildren. The premium is expected to involve an alternative distribution of the money allocated for deprivation, which will rise to pound;770 million next year, rather than bringing in new cash. But the agency said it believes a pupil premium would improve "transparency" compared with the current funding formula for deprivation, which is based on students' home postcode rather than their parents' income.

Scrapping EMA may bring mass drop-outs, survey finds

More than a third of students who receive the education maintenance allowance (EMA) say they would not have started their course without it, according to a survey of 700 students. The joint University and College Union (UCU) and Association of Colleges poll found that 38 per cent would not have started their studies and 70 per cent would have to drop out if it was withdrawn. UCU general secretary Sally Hunt said: "EMAs make the difference between students being able to attend college and complete their course or being priced out. It is quite scandalous that Michael Gove is planning to break his pre-election pledge to keep EMAs when he has not even visited one further education college."

Book launched in tribute to Alan Tuckett's time at Niace

A book of essays to mark the forthcoming retirement of Alan Tuckett, chief executive of adult education body Niace, was launched yesterday. Published by Niace and London University's Institute of Education, Remaking Adult Learning focuses on the paradox that adult learning has never been more important to the challenges of poverty, economic crises and climate change, but remains under-resourced. Its chapters address issues from the ageing society to family learning, as well as literacy and numeracy, and includes an interview with Mr Tuckett, who will retire this year after 23 years heading Niace.

Barnfield College to develop `studio school' for 14-19

Barnfield College's federation has been awarded pound;5.3 million to develop its studio school, a 14-19 institution focused on developing enterprise skills among teenagers. The money will fund a new building for 300 students, who will follow a tailor-made study programme involving spending part of the week in paid employment as well as running their own small businesses. Students will be given a netbook computer, choose when to take their holidays and be assigned a personal coach. Up to 16, they will study core GCSEs and NVQs, while post-16 they will take BTECs in a range of subjects, including business.

Dedicated smartphone app for students on the hop

Hopwood Hall College is the latest to launch a dedicated smartphone app to help students access course materials, assignments and timetables on the move. Running on iPhones, BlackBerries and Google's Android system, the app is designed by Salford Software, which hopes other FE colleges will adopt it to meet increasing student expectations in technology. It follows Kensington and Chelsea College, which launched its own apps for the Android system and Nokia's Symbian system last year.

Sheffield lecturer selected for international bake-off

A bakery lecturer at Sheffield City College is to lead the British team in an international bake-off next week. David Mizon will take part in the Sigep Bread Cup international bakery challenge in Rimini, Italy, against 10 teams from countries ranging from France to the USA. His team of four will compete in a series of categories: traditional bread, healthy bread, baked dessert and artisan bread. He said: "I'm looking forward to achieving success in one of the world's leading bakery competitions and seeing many artisan bakery friends from across the globe."

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