A high quality and responsive further education sector is essential if we are to realise our ambitions of strengthening UK economic performance and transforming the life chances of millions of people. Further education is unique in operating across society, having a real impact on businesses, young people and adults, including those from disadvantaged and minority communities.
Public investment in further education has increased substantially since 1997. At the same time, standards have been rising. 77 per cent of all college students and 60 per cent of those doing full apprenticeships or NVQs now succeed.
With the 2006 FE White Paper and 'World Class Skills' (2007), there is in place a comprehensive reform programme. DIUS is working to create a responsive further education system with a focus on skills, employability and social mobility. Without colleges and training providers, we will not achieve the challenging targets set by Lord Leitch. Over the period to 2020, we need to see investment in skills by employers and individuals far outstripping public investment. That means huge new opportunities for further education.
As part of the Machinery of Government changes that established the new Department of Innovation, Universities and Skills, funding for 16-19 year olds is being transferred to Local Authorities to give greater leadership at local level. Jointly with the Department for Children, Schools and Families, we have consulted on the proposed changes to the education and training systems for 16-19 year olds and adults set out in the Raising Expectations white paper and published a summary of responses, and next steps and frequently asked questions (see below).
The FE Communications Gateway Panel is challenging Government and the LSC to improve their communications with FE providers especially when promoted as publications.
Vocational Qualifications & planned reforms
Visit the Section 97 website for details of approved qualifications for learners age 19 or over.
The UK Vocational Qualifications Reform website provides a complete overview of the reforms to the UK VQ system.
The Qualifications Reform Support Programme is specifically designed to provide FE providers with the resources and support they need to implement the VQ reforms.
Accreditation of employer & provider training
Select here for links to child protection guidance, information about the Independent Safeguarding Authority and the new vetting and barring scheme, and a range of other useful information on safeguarding
For those in FE working with vulnerable adults, recent guidance can be downloaded or ordered from here
SoS letter to colleges
John Denham and Ed Balls have written to college principals and chairs of governing bodies to set out some of the key challenges facing the FE sector over the next twelve months. Read the full letter
'Raising Expectations' White Paper
Read more on plans to give local authorities more say over the education of young people and to streamline the adult skills system.
National Improvement Strategy
Governance and Legal
Select here for links to the legal framework and consultation and guidance documents.
Follow this link to FE Colleges: Models for Success and supporting case studies and toolkit
Keep up-to-date with latest developments on Apprenticeships
Investing in further education
Funding for participation rose 48 per cent in real terms between 1997 and 2005 and capital budgets rose from £40 million in 1990-00 to £498 million in 2007-08. Read the report on the demand-led funding consultation.
FE and Skills E-newsletter
This newsletter is for all colleges and providers, adult education services and partner organisations to keep you updated on the latest developments in FE and Skills policy.
Science and Society: your views
Please visit the Science and Society consultation site to join the debate.