In this week’s TES Further, Iain Mackinnon, secretary to the Maritime Skills Alliance, challenges the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills' (Bis) interpretation of the Richard Review of Apprenticeships (article free for subscribers). He writes that the 2012 document – intended as a framework to help redefine apprenticeships – is being regarded as a "holy text" by Bis, which has adopted an inflexible attitude to what was meant to be a framework for apprenticeship policy.
HE in FE
Also in the magazine, TES journalist Julia Belgutay leads an investigation into the role of colleges in widening access to degree-level courses. She reveals that the make-up of HE students in FE institutions consists of a higher proportion of part-time and older learners compared with HE institutions, and that student recruitment in college is far more localised. For instance, the average distance between home and place of learning for a student in FE is just 17 miles, compared with 52 miles for a student in HE.
Meanwhile, in her editorial, Julia writes that the outdated snobbery over vocational education options serves no one. Parity of esteem, simply put, does not exist, she says – how many proud parents would dream of sending their children off to a local FE college rather than a university?. Even though HE provision at colleges is integral to widening access to degree-level courses...
FErret reveals that he is frustrated in love (article free for subscribers). His two favourite funding agencies – the Education Funding Agency and the Skills Funding Agency – tantalised him with an email that announced “intervention work” was taking place between the two organisations. With all the awkward, loveless mergers taking place across the country, FErret hoped that this would-be alliance might prove, beyond doubt, that FE love was truly real. But it wasn't to be. In the same email the agencies stressed that a merger between the organisations was not on the cards, and poor, sad Ferret had to put his tailored wedding suit away in his burrow. For now.
This week's magazine also looks at what the NUS describes as the "national scandal" of careers advice. According to a new survey by YouGov, careers advisers were “very” or “moderately” important to only a third of FE students when they chose their current educational institution – and almost one fifth said that their advisers had no bearing at all on their decision-making.
Freedom in FE
Stephen Grix, chief executive of Mid Kent College, offers TES Further readers his top tips for leadership. He writes that if you want to be a great leader, you must set out a crystal-clear vision and give your colleagues the freedom to make it a reality. Educational consultant Graham Fowler, meanwhile, talks about another, more ambitious type of freedom – that of sector-wide independence. FE providers need to work together in order to achieve further liberation, he says, as external demands are less restrictive now than they were a decade ago.
Learning for learning's sake
Lastly, but by no means least, TES columnist Sarah Simons talks us through how she has taken control of her own learning. She writes that the experience has been empowering, but employers are not under obligation to fund staff’s self-directed learning. Those that do are rare jewels.
All this and much, much more in this week’s TES Further.
Read the full coverage in this week's TES magazine, available in all good newsagents. To download the digital FE edition, Android users can click here and iOS users can click here. TES Further Education subscription packages are available here.