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Further afield

Retiring Niace chief to spearhead adult learning in Europe

Alan Tuckett, who retires as chief executive of Niace later this year, has been elected president of the International Council for Adult Education (ICAE). Mr Tuckett is the first European to hold the role and will serve for four years at the head of the worldwide network of campaigning organisations promoting adult learning. Mr Tuckett said: "Adult learning is on the back foot in far too many places across the globe. It is a key development issue, with almost 1 billion adults still lacking access to literacy and numeracy - two-thirds of whom are women. Development funds are increasingly focused on universal primary schooling, yet children retain literacy better when their parents read and write."

Portsmouth college named `outstanding' by Ofsted

Highbury College in Portsmouth has been graded "outstanding" by Ofsted after achieving the highest success rates in England for a general FE college. Its achievement rate was 97.2 per cent, compared with a national average of 89.8 per cent, prompting inspectors to praise outcomes for students as outstanding for an area of high deprivation where attainment was usually below the national average. College principal Stella Mbubaegbu (pictured) said: "We focus relentlessly on our mission to enable all our students to succeed. That's part of the Highbury DNA. It's our culture as a college."

Training body adds weight to welfare-to-work schemes

The Association of Learning Providers has changed its name to the Association of Employment and Learning Providers to reflect the increasing importance of welfare-to-work programmes. Martin Dunford, the association's chairman, announced the name change at its annual conference on Tuesday. The association represents more than 600 private training providers, which make up 70 per cent of the prime contractors in the Government's work programme. Mr Dunford also called for the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, Department for Work and Pensions and the Department for Education to work more closely towards a single cross- government policy on skills and employment, particularly focused on youth unemployment.

Learning fund receives `unprecedented' number of bids

More than 2,400 organisations bid for a share of the pound;2.25 million Adult and Community Learning Fund, according to Niace, the adult education body administering the fund. The fund offers grants of between pound;10,000 and pound;75,000 to organisations from small charities to established FE providers to support adult learning in the community. Carol Taylor, director of development and research at Niace, said: "We have received an unprecedented number of bids, from a range of adult learning projects and providers - from small voluntary organisations to colleges, from care settings to local authorities. This extraordinary demand for relatively small amounts of money - around a thousand more bids have been received for this fund than for the Transformation Fund, which offered almost 10 times as much funding - proves that there is a real desire and need for adult learning."

South London colleges given go-ahead for merger

Bromley College and Orpington College in south London have been given approval by FE minister John Hayes to merge. The new college, to be called Bromley College of Further and Higher Education, will launch on 1 August. It will retain both campuses, which were rebuilt under the Building Colleges for the Future programme. The college says the Orpington site will retain its sixth-form emphasis. Bromley College principal Sam Parrett said: "When I came to Bromley College 10 months ago, I could see the huge potential for the merged college, if it was really owned by the community. We are very excited about the Government's emerging vision for FE and the enhanced role that we can play in higher education. The new college will break new ground and contribute to the development of a strong local community."

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