News at a glance

5th June 2015 at 01:00

Do more on extremism, sector leader tells colleges

A leading college governor has urged colleges to take a central role in community cohesion and to see themselves as "agents of change" if they are to tackle extremism. Colleges have a duty to implement the government's Prevent counterterrorism strategy, but Paul Butler, a national leader of FE governance and chair of governors at Waltham Forest College, said it was not enough for colleges to address issues of extremism only in relation to safeguarding. Writing on the TES website today (www.tesconnect.comnewsfurther-education), he says: "Led by their governing bodies, colleges must see themselves as agents for progressive change, being very much central to their local community cohesion agenda."

Gazelle Group loses one of its founding members

A founding member of the Gazelle Colleges Group has withdrawn from the organisation. North Hertfordshire College, whose former principal and chief executive Fintan Donohue set up the group, announced last week that it was no longer an active member. Matt Hamnett, who became principal in March, told TES that Gazelle had been an important part of North Hertfordshire's transformation but that the college saw its future outside the organisation. "Gazelle clearly played an important role in changing the way we think about curriculum and how we deliver it," he said. When asked whether the pound;35,000 annual membership cost was a consideration, Mr Hamnett said: "In ever more straitened times we look really hard at any investment decision." North Hertfordshire is the fifth college to leave the group this year; 17 are still members.

Free training offered to maths teachers

Maths teachers in the FE sector have the opportunity to take advantage of a free course funded by the Education and Training Foundation. The six-day programme aims to support teachers to deliver the new core maths qualification, which helps post-16 students to apply maths to real situations. The qualification will be included in school and college performance tables from 2017, and as part of the TechBacc measure from 2016. www.etf-training.co.uk

Leadership body's chief quits `time-consuming' role

The chief executive of the Further Education Trust for Leadership (FETL) is leaving the thinktank this month because the post is taking up too much of his time. Mark Ravenhall said: "I am proud to have been part of the beginnings of FETL and think that we have achieved a great deal in its first year. What began as a part-time, two-day-per-week post has expanded and has reached the point where it is taking much more of my time than I originally expected." FETL is the legacy body of the Learning and Skills Improvement Service, and inherited pound;5.5 million of funding to provide grants and fellowships to develop leadership in the sector.

Birmingham college criticised over HE course

An FE college has been criticised after one of its higher education courses failed to meet expectations. The Quality Assurance Agency launched an investigation into South and City College Birmingham's HNC in business, delivered through distance learning with Acquire Learning. The concerns relate to the HNC's rapid growth and monthly recruitment - more than 50 per cent of the college's first-year HE students had been recruited to the course - and its 1:100 staff-to-student ratio. Although the review found that academic standards met expectations, it said student opportunities in distance learning required improvement. The college said it had already taken action to address the concerns.

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