In this week’s TES Further, Joseph Lee writes about the sixth-form college that has appointed a researcher in residence (article free for subscribers). Christ the King Sixth-Form College has hired a researcher to work directly with staff on their own projects. Although Christ the King isn’t the first college to hire a researcher in residence – BSix Brooke House Sixth-Form College in East London hosted a researcher from the London Institute of Education between 2008 and 2010 – the volume of research produced by staff makes Christ the King stand out. More than 60 teachers have completed projects over the past three years, all supported by training and a bursary from the University of Warwick.
Confidence is key
David Hughes, CEO of the Association of Colleges (AoC), writes that it is important to portray a confident image of the sector (article free for subscribers) at his organisation’s annual conference in Birmingham in November. He says that it will be different to the many other times he has attended the event – not simply because its his first at the helm of the AoC, but because the context in which colleges operate has altered so much in the past six months. “The changes stem partly from the Brexit vote and all the implications of that," he writes. "But also from a creeping realisation that the austerity years have left big challenges for our society, economy and for millions of people."
Welcome to the Collab Group
The 157 Group is dead, long live the Collab Group. TES reporter Julia Belgutay reveals the reasons behind the group of 32 colleges' rebranding – in part, due to a new strategy that will result in the organisation focusing on joint commercial activity across its member colleges. The organisation will also aim to be at the vanguard of developing the Institutes of Technology proposals outlined by the government.
Meanwhile, FE editor Stephen Exley questions why the "education" part of FE is being increasingly marginalised. The last time there was a minister with FE in their title, Stephen writes, was in the days of John Hayes. This is about more than just semantics, he writes: “It reflects the shift in political focus towards, almost exclusively, employability. This perspective has taken over the sector.”
Stuart Rimmer, chief executive of Great Yarmouth College, writes about mindfulness (article free for subscribers). He says that it is important not to obsess over past decisions and future responsibilities. “The call of technology and 24/7 communication, as well as the firefighting mentality prevalent in FE, can be witnessed in every college campus,” Stuart writes – but we owe it to ourselves to be present in the moment.
TES columnist Andy Forbes writes that FE’s culture of treating learners as future workers may yet prove to be a winning formula (article free for subscribers). He says that FE colleges have always treated students as “adults in training” and this approach allows the provision of a safe and nurturing environment, but without the nanny culture prevalent in schools.
This week, FErret delves into the little understood world of adult and community learning (ACL) provision (article free for subscribers). He reveals – thanks to a little brown envelope left by his burrow this week – that the review of ACL provision in London shows that the funding collectively received by the sector in the capital amounts to £100 million – with 10 per cent coming from fees. Some of the work that was scrutinised – including Esol – was found to be strong, but there was also a lot of “reinventing the wheel”. “At one end of the spectrum,” he writes, “there are parts of London not served by any community learning at all; at the other, there’s much duplication.”
All this and much, much more in this week's TES Further.
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