Commissioner's findings made public
Summaries of eight of the first 10 college interventions carried out by the FE commissioner have been published by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. Dr David Collins' comments focus mostly on finance, governance and teaching quality, but several express concerns over leadership and management. Two reports - on Lesoco in south-east London and the City of Liverpool College - call for a change in management style. Other recommendations include replacing half the governing body at Barnfield College in Luton and hiring a "peer mentor" at Weymouth College to help with financial issues.
Give vocational learners tools for business, peer says
College students on vocational courses should not only be taught the skills of a trade but also how to run and manage a business in that profession, a new report says. Enterprise for All, by Lord Young of Graffham, warns that while colleges' focus on professional trades and vocational careers makes them "fertile ground" for self-employment and entrepreneurship, there is too little emphasis on students working for themselves. The report recommends that all level 3 vocational courses include a module on how to establish a business as a core component.
Cross-party consensus on skills manifesto
Politicians from the three main political parties have endorsed the manifesto of adult education body Niace. As reported in TES ("Let's make history, demands Niace", Further, 13 June), the organisation has called for a major independent review of the UK's long-term skills needs to address significant shortages. At a conference to mark Adult Learners' Week earlier this month, politicians from the Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrat parties all agreed on the need for a skills-led recovery and that changes to the system and pattern of funding were necessary to make this happen.
Have your say on traineeship funding
The government is holding a consultation on whether to alter the funding arrangements for its flagship traineeship programme. Traineeships are currently funded using the same arrangements as further education. But the government is proposing to instead pay providers on the basis of trainees' progression to apprenticeships, jobs or further learning. It argues that the changes, which would take effect at the start of the 2015-16 academic year, would encourage better results and lead to a more "consistent experience" for 16- to 24-year-olds on the programme.
Clegg makes `cradle to college' spending promise
Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg has pledged to protect education spending "from cradle to college" if his party wins the next general election. The deputy prime minister said he would extend the protection currently given to 5-16 education funding to include 16- to 19-year-olds. The announcement was welcomed by the Association of Colleges, which called on Labour and the Conservatives to follow suit. The 157 Group of colleges also backed the move and claimed that the current ring-fencing of school budgets had left FE colleges bearing the brunt of austerity measures in education.