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Further afield

Newcastle College staff strike over redundancies

Staff at Newcastle College will strike next week over plans to axe more than 170 jobs. The University and College Union is taking industrial action on Tuesday after 82 per cent of members at the college backed the strike. The institution blamed the redundancies, 120 of which are teaching roles, on reduced Government funding. UCU regional official Iain Owens said: "UCU members here at Newcastle College have made it crystal clear that they will fight these proposals. If these plans go ahead, they will have a devastating effect on the local community and make it much harder to retrain people who have lost their jobs during the recession. We need teachers teaching people, not on the dole queue."

Willetts jumps gun on apprentice recruitment numbers

Universities minister David Willetts jumped the gun by announcing last week that the Government had met its target of recruiting 50,000 extra apprentices in 201011. After he announced to delegates at the Association of Colleges' HE in FE conference "we have achieved our ambition of 50,000 additional starts with a month to spare", a Department for Business, Innovation and Skills spokesman told FE Focus the numbers have not yet been finalised. "Final figures have not been confirmed but we are confident that we are on track to achieve the additional 50,000 apprenticeship places announced last year. We expect to confirm this when the next statistical first release is published at the end of June," the spokesman said.

Deputy gets top job at Oaklands

Oaklands College has appointed Zoe Hancock (pictured) as its new principal, after her predecessor Mark Dawe became chief executive of exam board OCR. Ms Hancock has been working as interim principal since Mr Dawe left in October 2010, and she joined the college in 2008 as deputy principal. Prior to that she was director of planning and projects at the British Museum, where she was responsible for the museum's estates strategy. Oaklands, which missed out on a major redevelopment in the capital crisis of 2009, is currently refurbishing its campus in Welwyn Garden City and building new classrooms and sports pitches at its Smallford campus near St Albans. Phil Thomson, chair of Oaklands Corporation, said: "She has made a significant contribution to Oaklands' progress with her passion for making the college a great place to work and her determination to improve the college's estate."

Institute for Learning to set teacher training standards

The Institute for Learning (IfL) is to take on the role of setting the standards for teacher training after the closure of Lifelong Learning UK (LLUK). With the sector skills council for FE and HE failing to retain its licence, LLUK and its subsidiary Standards Verification UK, which was responsible for managing quality assurance of teacher training for FE, closed down last week. The standards work now passes to the IfL. Lee Davies, deputy chief executive of the institute, said: "IfL's new set of responsibilities cements the professional body's place in teacher education and training and gives our members a strong voice in the future of initial teacher training."

Kendal takes the cake in Ofsted inspections

One of the smallest colleges in the country, Kendal College, has earned FE's second highest Ofsted score. The Cumbrian institution was rated "outstanding" in 87 per cent of the areas inspected, with the remainder graded "good". It is beaten only by Barnsley College, where 90 per cent of areas inspected were given an outstanding grade. Lincoln College was also rated outstanding, bringing the number of general FE colleges earning the top rating under the most recent inspection framework to six.

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