In this week's Tes Further: GBBO's Prue Leith, manifesto mishaps and more

19th May 2017 at 16:05
Also: a dearth of diversity and the tricky target of falling back in love with FE (click on the pictures to be taken to the stories)

Worth their salt

In this week’s Tes Further, Prue Leith, the new presenter of The Great British Bake Off (GBBO), talks about her admiration for college-based catering schools (article free for subscribers). “It’s about time we had [more of] this type of training,” says Leith, who visited London South East College (LSEC) in Kent and its bustling BR6 Restaurant. "[But] it’s important the college is a proper restaurant,” she explains, “not a miserable room on the third floor that was last decorated in the 70s and is never open at night."

Catering colleges are on the rise and have proven themselves to be a perfect crucible for forging the next generation of top chefs. The teachers at LSEC also take their restaurant seriously. Executive chef Jason Main says: “I’m here to run a restaurant. That means we work out costings, wastage and gross profit. There are no rose-coloured glasses here. We train the students to move seamlessly into jobs.” Who knows, perhaps we will see a former LSEC student presenting GBBO in the not-so-distant future...

Open all hours

From September, students at Sir George Monoux College in London won’t start their day at nine like most other colleges. Instead, they’ll start their classes at 10am. According to the college’s principal, David Vasse, “later starts better accommodate the teenage brain”, because “early is just not when [teenagers] produce their best work". The later day, he says, will allow students to start their studies “with a sense of being match-fit for the lesson and working at the top of their game”.

But isn’t starting at 10 slightly counter intuitive? Julia Belgutay writes in her editorial (article free for subscribers) that some people in the sector feel it flies in the face of the principle point of a college: to prepare young people for the world of work, where days start earlier. But college is not work, Belgutay writes. "Maybe ensuring students are at their very best at college is the best way to set them on a course for that."

A dearth of diversity

Patrice Miller, a specialist English teacher at Ealing, Hammersmith and West London College, asks why the proportion of minority-ethnic learners in FE is not mirrored in the FE workforce. While attending the recent Tes FE Awards in London, Miller noticed that not one of the recipients on the stage reflected her ethnic identity. “The sector serves a vast array of people with different experiences, backgrounds and origins, be it staff or students,” Miller writes (article free for subscribers). “[But] the lack of multiculturalism representing the various FE providers nationally made me question the progress that I thought FE had made in regards to widening the participation of black, Asian and minority-ethnic (BAME) staff.”

I just want to #loveFE

Tes columnist Sarah Simons is concerned that she is past her best before date as an FE teacher. “I’ve felt jaded about the whole FE college thing for a while,” Simons admits (article free for subscribers). But despite feeling disillusioned with her profession – where there "isn't enough time or money to do our jobs properly" – she does not want to moan and hang up her lanyard just yet. “I still have so much to learn and I believe I have a lot left to give,” Simons says. “My challenge is to find a way to rekindle the desire to enthusiastically participate.”

Doing your duty

Paula McGregor, an English teacher, writes that there is a duty for teachers to properly explain the importance of the general election to their students (article free for subscribers). McGregor urges teachers to take time out of their busy days to get their students registered and teach them the fundamentals of the election – “even if they’re not registered or old enough to vote”.

Manifesto mishaps

FErret wonders what it is about a general election that turns politicians into fools. From the Labour Party we’ve heard that the adult education budget is going to be increased to whopping £1.5 billion – even though the budget for adult education already stands at £1.5 billion. Meanwhile, the Liberal Democrats have promised an additional £660 million of investment to protect “per pupil” funding in colleges. But there is no such thing as an FE “pupil” – they're called "students". Duh.

Bacon sandwiches aside, FErret can surely smell a few more candidate cock-ups on the horizon before the end of #GE2017 (article free for subscribers).

All this and much, much more in this week’s Tes Further.

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