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Further afield

Ofsted blames advisers over worst-performing subjects

Business, education and law courses are some of the worst-performing subject areas in FE, Ofsted inspectors have found.

A report on business and enterprise education suggested that students were being badly advised when they chose the courses, which had success rates four points below the national average in sixth-form colleges and two points below average in general FE colleges. "This suggests that not all learners received appropriate advice in selecting the most suitable courses and lacked the prior knowledge, skills and understanding needed to complete their courses successfully," the inspectors said. At three of the 33 colleges where business courses were observed, provision was rated inadequate, and at 16 it was judged satisfactory.

High-flyer Jones takes over as chairman of CollegesWales

The principal of Deeside College has been appointed new chairman of the organisation representing Wales's FE institutions. David Jones is now chairman of CollegesWales, also known as ColegauCymru, after leading Deeside College for seven years, where he became the first principal in the nation to earn the highest grade for all FE and work-based learning provision from Welsh inspectorate Estyn. Mr Jones said: "I am delighted and privileged to have the opportunity to chair ColegauCymru. We need to ensure that the entire FE college sector continues to improve, and raise standards, as we all strive for excellence within our individual colleges, and build on ColegauCymru's status as the voice of FE in Wales."

Triple-jump champion meets future pentathlon stars

Olympic gold medal-winning triple jumper Jonathan Edwards visited Bishop Burton College to meet young athletes who train with the British pentathlon team. The East Yorkshire college is a regional training base for the pentathletes, who compete at shooting, riding, running, swimming and fencing, and train with young Olympic hopefuls. Mr Edwards took on 15- year-old Ella Nicholson (pictured with Jonathan Edwards) at fencing, with the bout ending in a draw. College principal Jeanette Dawson said: "It makes me very proud to know that through our partnerships with organisations such as Pentathlon GB, we are training future Olympians here at Bishop Burton College, and with our own elite academies we are nurturing some amazing sporting talent."

Derby pioneers programme to foster business start-ups

Derby College is piloting a qualification aimed at preparing people to set up and run their own businesses. Devised by the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills, the Qualifying with a Business programme will run for three hours a day over 10 weeks and is intended to teach marketing, hiring staff, and business and financial planning. Helen Lillie, assistant principal of Derby College, said: "These learners will be given the opportunity to join the course alongside members of the public who are themselves looking for a change of direction and realising their ambitions of being their own boss."

Dragon fires up latest tranche of hopeful entrepreneurs

Peter Jones (pictured), from the BBC's Dragons' Den, has launched his latest Enterprise Academy at Cornwall College. The college will be the second "regional hub", following the establishment of one in Buckinghamshire, and will also oversee courses aimed at preparing a new generation of businessmen and women at South Devon College and Kingston Maurward in Dorchester. The Enterprise Academy was founded in 2008 to encourage and prepare young entrepreneurs in FE to run their own businesses.

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