In this week's TES Further: The learners with SEND who are fighting for careers advice

Also: Why a qualifications cull could kill off awarding bodies

Will Martin

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In this week’s TES Further, reporter Will Martin writes about the learners with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) campaigning for better access to careers advice (article free for subscribers). For many, accessing this information is far from straightforward. According to a recent Ofsted report, 16 out of 20 local authority websites that were reviewed failed to provide sufficiently detailed information for children, young people and their families. Will has interviewed several of the protesters, including Alex Johnson, a student at National Star College in Cheltenham, who said that: “We need reform, and as long as I’m around, I will make sure we get this sorted.”


This week, FErret offers his congratulations to Richard Atkins, former principal of Exeter College, and John Cridland, former director-general of the CBI, who have both been appointed as new non-executives for Ofsted. This can only be a good thing for FE, FErret reckons (article free for subscribers). After all, Ofsted’s soon-to-be-departing chief inspector, Sir Michael Wilshaw, has done his best to stick his knife into FE during his tenure – while Amanda Spielman, Nicky Morgan’s preferred replacement for the role, was rejected by the Commons education select committee on grounds that she didn't have an adequate grounding of FE. Let’s hope the latest appointments bring some much-needed concord between Ofsted and FE.

Exclusive: Qualifications cull could kill off awarding bodies

TES FE editor Stephen Exley and Will Martin have revealed that efforts to simplify post-16 technical education by removing 20,000 qualifications could lead to dozens of awarding bodies going out of business. Experts have warned that many of the 160 awarding organisations currently offering qualifications could face extinction after the Sainsbury review called for a licensing approach for providers, with a single body or consortium being approved to offer the sole version of each qualification.

Sainsbury success, or failure?

Stephen Exley, in his editorial, writes that he believes the Sainsbury review into technical education offers the prospect of stability for the FE sector (article free for subscribers). "The sector is no stranger to policy churn by any stretch of the imagination," he says. “But, for coming up with a workable (funding permitted, or course) plan to create a logical structure for post-16 education, Lord Sainsbury and his fellow panel members deserve much credit."

How to survive Ofsted...and area reviews

Matt Bromley, an education writer, offers his top tips on how to win a "good" Ofsted rating (article free for subscribers). Hint: it’s about supporting staff and students. From putting your learners first, to developing a clear vision and sticking to your strategy, follow Matt's steps and a golden grade may just await your college at the finish line.

Meanwhile, Paul Warren, a learning support assistant, explains how staff can survive the dreaded area reviews. He says that by keeping yourself informed, asking questions and encouraging your colleagues, you can weather the area review storm – and ride out the largest upheaval in the further education sector for many years.

Oh, we do like to FE beside the seaside 

Paul Phillips, principal of Weston College, writes about how education in seaside towns like Weston-super-Mare is helping to stimulate the local economy (article free for subscribers). He writes that seaside FE colleges play a crucial role in their local areas by establishing strong partnerships with other colleges, schools, employers and industry.

Last but by no means least, TES columnist Sarah Simons talks about sitting the functional skills English test to try on her students’ shoes (article free for subscribers). And now, she’s back in the classroom, taking a course on teaching learners with disabilities. She says the experiences have given her a new admiration for what her learners have to go through, and she hopes her teaching has benefited as a result.

All this and much, much more in this week's TES Further.

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Will Martin

Will is a junior reporter at TES

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