News at a glance

Inadequate providers making progress

More than 160 FE and skills providers in England have been rated inadequate by inspectors in the past 20 months, it has been revealed. Karen Adriaanse, a special adviser for careers and employability at Ofsted, told delegates at a conference in London that 166 providers had gained the inspectorate's lowest rating since its new framework was introduced in September 2012. However, the watchdog had started to reinspect the providers and a "very good" proportion had made progress, she said. Ms Adriaanse insisted that with the right support, it was possible to go from an inadequate rating to a good grade in a short space of time.

English Neet numbers fall to nine-year low

The number of young people not in education, employment or training (Neet) in England has dropped to its lowest level since 2005. New government figures show that 774,000 16- to 24-year-olds are Neet (13.1 per cent), down 135,000 on last year. Meanwhile, the number of 16- to 18-year-old Neets has dropped by 29,000 to 122,000, the lowest since records began in 2001. The figures also show that 94.2 per cent of 16- and 17-year-olds are participating in education and training, the highest figure since 2001.

Review on state of FE due later this year

The further education commissioner for England will produce his first annual report later this year, it has been revealed. David Collins was appointed last November and tasked with tackling failing colleges and driving improvement in the sector. Dr Collins has already reviewed about 10 failing providers - including the debt-hit K College in Kent, which was later put into administration - but has yet to publish a full report. However, a spokesman for the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills said that an annual report would be released in the autumn.

New professional standards eagerly received

The FE and skills sector has welcomed a long-awaited set of new professional guidelines for teachers and trainers. The standards, published by the Education and Training Foundation (ETF), set out what is expected of FE professionals in England in their daily practice. Developed jointly with teachers, trainers and employers, they are arranged as 20 one-sentence points, which fill just one sheet of A4 paper and are grouped under three headings: values and attributes, knowledge and understanding, and skills. The ETF said that they were designed to provide a national reference point, to set out clear expectations of effective practice, to allow teachers to identify where they needed to develop and to support initial teacher training.

Young people demand `drastic' changes to jobs guidance

School pupils want "drastic" changes to the way they receive careers advice, according to new research by the Association of Colleges (AoC). The research found that young people want more detailed guidance, including information on what specific jobs involve, as well as "have a go" experiences to get an idea of the skills that are needed. It is part of a wider project being carried out by AoC to promote best practice around careers guidance in schools and to put colleges at the heart of the process. Revised statutory guidance for careers advice in schools in England, which sets out a clear focus on preparation for work, was introduced in April.

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