Reviewing “Reviewing post-16 Education and Training Institutions” by HM Government

When I decided to re-start the blog, I didn’t expect BIS to release a document entitled “Reviewing post-16 Education and Training Institutions” and I didn’t expect to write about it. Hardly a soft blog to relaunch. I’ve read it and I have some queries which I don’t expect to be answered here, but will keep them fresh in my mind as more information becomes available.

Disclosure: I didn’t vote for this Government, nor do I agree with their policies.

Focus: My teaching practice is focused on 15-19 Level 1 learners in a Creative and Visual Arts environment.

As i tweeted (@drkeevil) earlier I can’t read lines like “removing 6,000 low-value qualifications from performance tables and public funding.” without thinking about this interview with Stewart Lee;

In the introduction the document states that critical to achieving their objectives:
– “progress to high level skills valued by employers
– “responsiveness to local employer needs and economic priorities”

This doesn’t seem particularly student focused. Focusing on what employers what now, based on what customers wanted yesterday doesn’t prepare anybody for tomorrow. I don’t mean to be glib.

The intro goes on to discuss a new network of prestigious institutes delivering high standard provision at levels 3-5. So Level 1, where does this fit in?

Section 2 looks at ‘A national programme of area-based reviews’ and it suggest threading a fine needle. That post 16-reform is necessary, and i don’t disagree. They expect it to;
“enable greater specialisation”
“create genuine centres of expertise”
“teaching basic skills”
“maintaining broad universal access”

whilst meeting the employer needs mentioned early.

Section three mentions area based reviews which does at least mention

“access to appropriate good quality provision within reasonable travel distances, particularly for 16-19 year olds and students with special educational needs and disabilities” So here the focus is on goiod quality not great, and a decision on what is ‘reasonable’ in terms of travel distances.

The document finishes by saying;
‘Governing bodies will be responsible for deciding whether to accept recommendations relating to their institutions.” Yet no clear mention is made about what if they aren’t!?

It does go on to say;
‘It is important that college governors give careful weight to the long term stability of their institution’
‘To duty under chairty law to comply with legal obligations’
‘We expect institutions to take the right action, in light of the findings of a review, to ensure that they are resilient and able to respond to future funding priorities.’

Which only reminds me of the difficulties and battles many a primary school has had, and often lost, to avoid becoming an Academy. I wonder if people if people would fight with the some passion to protect an F.E college.
And I prepare myself to work for the newly formed ‘Kent College’ in 2017-18.

Be seeing you.


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