FE news at a glance

10th April 2015 at 01:00

AoC attacks `expensive, failed' employer project

A government scheme to give employers control of skills funding has been attacked as an "expensive, failed project" by the Association of Colleges. An evaluation of the first round of 36 projects under the employer ownership of skills pilot says that "unrealistic" targets were set (bit.lyBISemployer). Recruitment of students to training was only just over a third of the number expected. Martin Doel, chief executive of the AoC, said: "We hope the next government learns lessons from this expensive, failed project, which was based on unsubstantiated assertions and unrealistic assumptions rather than hard evidence."

ATL urged to condemn `political contempt' of FE

Delegates at the ATL teaching union's annual conference have backed a motion attacking the "demise" of FE colleges. The motion, proposed by Niamh Sweeney, a sixth-form teacher from Cambridgeshire, calls on the union to condemn the "political contempt" shown to the sector, to lobby alongside other groups to boost FE's profile and to conduct research into the value of FE. Delegates in Liverpool also backed a motion calling for an investigation into increased workload in the sector and another calling for a "significant pay rise for FE professionals".

Ofsted gives Lewisham second inadequate grade

Lewisham Southwark College has become the first FE college to be graded inadequate by Ofsted twice in a row. The London college, formerly known as LeSoCo, was first graded inadequate in a report published in January last year after an inspection in November 2013. The latest report, published last week after a visit from Ofsted in February, says the college has not made enough progress in improving weaknesses highlighted by the previous inspection. It says that teaching, learning and assessment are improving too slowly, too few learners experience good teaching, and attendance and punctuality is poor.

157 Group launches video to animate 16-year-olds

A new animated video setting out the education and training opportunities available to young people at 16 has been launched. The video, by the 157 Group of colleges and the Association of Employment and Learning Providers, explains the different options and where learners can find more information (bit.ly157animation). Lynne Sedgmore, executive director of the 157 Group, said it was important for young people to make informed decisions about their future. "The choices they make at 15 or 16 impact on whether young people are well-prepared to go on to higher education, to secure an apprenticeship and to build a successful career," she said.

UCU welcomes Labour's zero-hours commitment

The University and College Union has welcomed a commitment from the Labour Party that workers on zero-hours contracts would have the right to regular employment after 12 weeks. The union, which is campaigning against so-called "casualisation", said the extent of the practice in the FE sector would "shock" many students and parents. Its research shows that 61 per cent of colleges have teaching staff employed on zero-hours contracts. UCU general secretary Sally Hunt said: "People on zero-hours contracts are unable to plan their lives on a month-by-month or even week-by-week basis."


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