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Viewpoint - Six bold steps to go-it-alone FE

Principles that will be at the heart of the momentous move to self- regulation and teaching improvement

Principles that will be at the heart of the momentous move to self- regulation and teaching improvement

Six core principles will underpin moves towards self-regulation and self-improvement for the further education and skills sector, which are described as every bit as momentous as the incorporation of colleges 15 years ago.

Consultation is due to start next month on the principles that are part of a revised National Improvement Strategy (NIS) for further education in England now led by the recently formed Learning and Skills Improvement Service (LSIS).

The improvement strategy was produced originally in January 2007. LSIS was asked to take over the lead role in renewing the strategy from the Quality Improvement Agency (QIA) when QIA merged with the Centre for Excellence and Leadership (CEL) in October this year. The Government asked that the strategy be revamped, resulting in a draft revised strategy including the six principles. In summary, the principles are:

- Every single provider activity is directed towards meeting individual learner needs.

- Each governing body takes full responsibility for all aspects of performance.

- Providers must embrace a culture of continually striving for higher quality performance.

- Every single member of staff is a professional - they own what they do and take pride in it.

- Utilise the expertise and experience in the sector to improve performance, particularly teaching and learning.

- Providers to give collective advice to government on learning and skills policy development and implementation.

Roger McClure, chief executive of LSIS, said that the move to self- regulation was as momentous as the 1993 incorporation of colleges.

"The consultation is signalling a major culture shift within the sector that is related to self-regulation. It is about allowing the sector to assert its professionalism." he said.

The aim is to create a genuinely national strategy for improving further education which would result in a coherent package of support "for the sector, by the sector", Mr McClure said.

Once agreed, the strategy would guide the policies, initiatives and funding of LSIS's partners.

Guests attending the LSIS STAR Awards ceremony on Monday heard Mr McClure outline the principles and the consultation that will be launched in early December. The event was also the official inauguration of LSIS. This year's STAR award winners were:

- Skills for life. Winner: Lynn Evans, ESOL co-ordinator at Stafford College.

- Engaging employers. Winner: the business development unit at The Isle of Wight College.

- Response to learners' needs. Winner: Lynn Reddick, head of entry and pre-entry level at North East Surrey College of Technology

- Teaching, training and learning practitioner. Winner: Jean Bartley, teacher and course leader at Herefordshire College of Technology.

- Lifetime achievement. Winner: Helen Sexton, principal of The National Star College (Cheltenham).

- Support role. Winner: Evelyn Shaw, head cook at Ruskin College (Oxford).

- Learning support. Winner: Susan Parr, student liaison adviser at Cheadle and Marple Sixth Form College (Cheshire).

- Leadership. Winner: Merron Mitchell, head of offender learning at The Manchester College.

- Innovation. Geoff Rebbeck, ILT development co-ordinator at Thanet College (Kent).

- Workforce development. Winner: the senior teacher team at North East Worcestershire College.

Full details including runners-up at http:staraward.qia.org.uk.

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