In this week's TES Further: whatever happened to Ofsted's campus grades?

26th August 2016 at 13:16
tes ferret further education colleges ofsted
Also: closing the disability employment gap

Back in July, TES revealed that Ofsted was planning to consult the sector on plans to start providing an overall inspection grade for each college campus, in response to the increase in mergers after the area reviews. But, what with Brexit and all, the promised consultation never happened. So what next? The plans are still on the table (article free for subscribers), FErret reveals – but he's not holding his breath for any wholesale changes just yet.

Prevent duty

Fenella Morris QC and Jennifer Thelen, two barristers at 39 Essex Chambers, write about how providers can walk the Prevent tightrope (article free for subscribers). A college’s duty is to have “due regard” to the need to prevent students from being drawn into “terrorism”, they write, but with many colleges failing to comply with the duty, they are leaving themselves exposed to the threat of legal action. So how realistic is it to expect colleges to take on this obligation – and what are the legal risks if they don’t?


TES reporter Julia Belgutay reveals why the Skills Funding Agency is considering taking legal action against a university in order to protect FE provision. The University of Lincoln has announced a plan to redevelop part of a campus outside of the city which is currently being leased to Bishop Burton College to offer land-based agricultural programmes. If there is a legal challenge, it could prove to be a landmark case with far-reaching consequences across the sector.

Are area reviews losing momentum?

Stephen Exley talks area reviews in this week’s editorial. Has the programme fulfilled its promise? “It’s difficult not to feel that it simply hasn’t,” Stephen writes. “While the better-than-expected settlement for FE in the autumn statement was undoubtedly a massive relief, it drained the process of much of its urgency. And there are still too many disincentives to merger in place."

Mind the employment gap

Tracey Clare-Gray, principal of Foxes Academy in Somerset, writes that closing the employment gap between able and disabled people isn’t rocket science (article free for subscribers): “It is all about engagement – getting the employers to change their perception and see the ability and not the disability," she says. Foxes Academy is a specialist training academy for 72 young people with learning disabilities, and over 86 per cent of students have achieved employment over the past six years. The key to their success: a mixture of employer engagement and high-quality training.

Putting 'FE' into the 'DfE'

Meanwhile, David Allison, founder and managing director of apprenticeship match-making platform, “wholeheartedly” welcomes the decision (article free for subscribers) to combine all elements of education under the Department for Education – but he does have a number of reservations. He writes that the decision to combine schools, FE and HE under one department makes a lot of sense, “but what must not be lost are the strong links that have been forged between the business and skills agendas”.

Simons says

TES columnist Sarah Simons talks us through the potential consequences of Brexit (article free for subcribers) – in particular those for the many Europeans working in UK colleges. She profiles Matt Wojtyniak, who arrived in the UK from Poland 10 years ago to work as a school assistant, and asks him what the EU vote means for him.

Meanwhile, in her column, Sarah talks about the pros and cons of working in a freelance capacity (article free for subcribers) when it comes to the summer break. Although getting up and “not getting changed into grown-up clothes until after lunch” is an obvious plus, a lack of paid holidays isn’t. "I don’t begrudge my FE pals a day of their holidays,” she writes. “But please understand that your entitlements can often be very different from many other professions' and remember that they are indeed friggin’ awesome!”

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

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