News at a glance

Union welcomes new minister for FE and skills

Nick Boles was this week appointed minister in charge of further education and skills, working between the Department for Education and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS). He replaces Matthew Hancock, who retains his enterprise role at BIS but also takes on a new position at the Department of Energy and Climate Change, as well as becoming minister of state for Portsmouth. A spokesman for the Association of Employment and Learning Providers said Mr Hancock had done a "great job in protecting the apprenticeships budget and we congratulate him on his promotion". Mr Boles has close links to former education secretary Michael Gove, with whom he jointly founded the right-leaning Policy Exchange thinktank in 2002. His appointment was welcomed by University and College Union general secretary Sally Hunt, who said she was looking forward to discussing the "important issues" facing the sector. "Public spending cuts have had a profound impact on post-16 education and all parties now need to set out their stall for further and higher education," she said. "The introduction of new ministers is an opportunity for government to refocus its education priorities in the run up to the election."

Strike threat to debt-laden K College

The University and College Union says it has not ruled out strike action at debt-laden K College in a row over job losses. Some 127 jobs at three of the college's sites across Kent are at risk in plans to save pound;2.4 million. The college said the move was "regrettable" but that it needed to tackle its pound;16 million of debts. However, the UCU said that fewer jobs would be at risk had financial issues been addressed sooner. It has called on managers to rule out compulsory redundancies and extend the consultation until the autumn term.

London's first UTC to close after two years

The government says its university technical college programme is not under threat despite the closure of its first London college because of falling student numbers. Hackney UTC has announced that it is to close just two years since it first opened after receiving only 29 applications for September out of a target of 75. All current Year 10 students will remain at the UTC until the end of Year 11 to complete their GCSEs in 2015. The college will then close in August 2015. A spokesman for the Department for Education told TES that the closure had "no bearing" on the UTC programme as a whole, and said that many other colleges were "thriving".

Successful leadership founded on moral purpose

New research into the beliefs of college leaders reveals that many feel having a clear set of personal values is essential to improving standards. The 157 Group and the National Council of Faiths and Beliefs in Further Education interviewed 11 successful college principals in an effort to find out whether spiritual issues were important to their leadership and decision-making. The findings show that successful leaders express their commitment and moral purpose in terms of service, rather than as an "ego-boosting exercise", and value colleagues and students as individuals when tackling underperformance.


A news item on page 47 of TES on 4 July referred to a report about Stem teaching in FE produced by the New Economics Foundation. It was in fact produced by the New Engineering Foundation. The report can be downloaded from

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