Since November, TES has been reporting on how universities are increasingly creeping into the wonderful world of FE. This week, FErret (article free for subscribers) looks at the intriguing cases of the University of Bolton – which could end up getting more than it bargained for if its merger with nearby Bury College goes ahead – and Coventry University, which is opening a new London base to offer HNDs and access-to-HE courses, less than a mile away from an FE college which already offers them.
The Education and Training Foundation (ETF) has released its annual workforce data reports. The new figures reveal what has been described as a "scandalous" pay gap, with female and ethnic minority staff earning less than their male and white British colleagues. The report also shows that the college workforce shrank by 3 per cent between 2013-14 and 2014-15, and further analysis of the data from the Skills Funding Agency suggests that the overall staff numbers in colleges dropped by 9 per cent over a three-year period.
Stephen Exley, in his editorial, analyses the results. He says that the figures tell a stark story – that, even in 2016, institutions still make decisions around recruitment, promotion and pay on the grounds of an individual’s sex or ethnic background. He writes: “It is a timely reminder of the need for the sector to promote equality and diversity in recruitment, retention and promotion if it is to have any hope of being fully representative of the communities that it serves."j
This week TES columnist Sarah Simons writes about how teachers can make the government’s counter-terrorism strategy, Prevent, work without fostering suspicion (article free for subscribers). She says college lecturers should balance the communication of Prevent – to encourage learners to be aware of the risks, without creating either unnecessary suspicion or racial stigmatisation – with the need to encourage learners to talk openly about extremism and radicalisation, using local, national and international news as a basis for debate.
Meanwhile, in her column, Sarah also writes that FE should aim for a truly person-centred approach when it comes to teaching students with special educational needs and disability (SEND). This means thinking about what is helpful for that person – not just in the short-term, but for years to come. “We have to find a balance between adapting to promote inclusivity, and providing training for a less inclusive world,” she writes.
Taking aim at The Apprentice
Charlie Mullins, CEO of Pimlico Plumbers, takes aim at television show The Apprentice (article free for subscribers), and the man behind the very expensive suit – not to mention being the government's new enterprise tsar – Lord Sugar. “I believe the term apprentice is so vitally important to young people today that it should be trademarked and only used in the proper way,” he writes. And that, he says, does not include occasions when a group of entrepreneurs argue over the price of a fish under an umbrella.
Finally, Graham Fowler, an educational consultant, writes that now is the opportunity for FE staff to review and develop their schemes of work for next year (article free for subscribers). It will make your teaching life easier in the long run, he says – from simply reviewing the syllabus, to getting your head around external requirements, and reflecting on teaching practice.
All this and much, much more in this week's TES Further.
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