Tag Archives: further education

Five burning issues: time to reimagine Further Education

By Suzanne Savage, Assistant Lecturer and Doctoral Researcher in the Faculty of Health, Education and Life Sciences. Full article on http://blogs.bcu.ac.uk/views/2016/05/19/five-burning-issues-time-to-reimagine-further-education/

As we eagerly await the first White Paper in a decade to address Further Education and Skills, I wanted to take a look at areas of concern for the sector. I asked facilitators of the upcoming Reimagining Further Education conference to be held on 29 June here at BCU, to share some of the burning issues they will explore.

  1. Leadership in Further Education: As we face a period of unprecedented change in the sector, do FE leaders need a new vision of their role? Dr Lynne Sedgmore, former leader of the 157 Group of Colleges, says: “Senior leaders and governors need to consider how they use their power and act on new ways of collaborative leadership in true partnership — beyond current formal hierarchy and tokenism — to liberate, engage, support and facilitate practitioners, and the professional power they bring, in much more innovative and radical ways.” What do you think? This and more will be discussed in the Leadership in FE strand of our conference.
  2. Accountability is often seen as the solution to quality in education, but Professor Ewart Keep of Oxford University warns that the current “low trust, high stakes inspection regime has a weak grasp of what vocational learning could and/or should look like. There is no widely accepted consensus about what the over-arching aims are that the FE system and individual institutions therein should be held accountable for.” This is compounded by new government initiatives towards local commissioning. Ann Hodgson of UCL Institute of Education asks “What are the respective roles of local, regional and national government in the governance of FE colleges and what should they be? What impact is the area review process having on the FE system in England?” If you would like to contribute towards answering these questions, join the Accountability, Governance and Area Reviews strand of our conference.
  3. Higher Education in FE: The release of the Higher Education White Paper this month has implications for colleges delivering HE courses because that provision will now be subject to the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF). How will colleges juggle the requirements of both Ofsted and the TEF? Dr Karima Kadi-Hanifi, University of Worcester, says: “When evaluated from an exclusively HE perspective, FE is often seen as the inferior partner. But FE provision is very good, student-centred, inspiring and resilient.” To formulate the FE response to TEF requirements, sign up for the HE in FE strand of our conference.
  4. The introduction of the Apprenticeship levy in April 2017 creates unique dilemmas for colleges, and many of those who have historically focussed on classroom-based provision are not sure how to develop successful apprenticeship delivery. While fierce competition amongst potential providers is anticipated, can colleges harness some of the energy from the Area Review process to develop a more regional, coordinated approach to apprenticeship provision? Are employers ready for the introduction of the levy and resultant change to hiring practices, or do apprenticeship providers need to find new ways to work together with them? To join this discussion, sign up to the Apprenticeship strand of our conference, facilitated by Professor Chris Winch of King’s College London.
  5. Professionalism: In a deregulated sector, “how can we foster a more critical, dialogic and democratic professionalism at this time of great challenge?” asks Lou Mycroft, teacher educator at Northern College and co-founder of Tutor Voices. And despite deregulation, Tim Weiss, Membership Director for the Society of Education and Training Professionals, wonders “In a sector celebrated for diversity of delivery, subject area, learner and teaching staff alike, do we run the risk of losing this breadth and depth as we focus ever closer on “core metrics” such as maths and English, or does this underlying drive to improve the essentials enhance our diversity of delivery even further?” Help develop a vision by joining the Professionalism in FE strand of our conference.

    The Reimagining Further Education conference will be held on 29 June, 2016 in the Curzon Building of Birmingham City University. Join the discussion on Twitter using #ReimagineFE

    With an undergraduate degree in anthropology from the United States, Suzanne Savage has spent the last 30 years in a wide variety of teaching positions in Nicaragua, the Netherlands and the UK. Most recently she has been a teacher training manager and teaching/learning coach in UK Further Education colleges. She’s very interested in the relationship between education policy, teacher professional practice, and the lived experience of students in the classroom. Her current PhD research at Birmingham City University is on the use of video recordings in the observation of classroom practice.

Reimagining Further Education Conference – Keynotes

Get to know the Keynote speakers ready for the Reimagining Further Education Conference, 29th Jun 2016

David Russell, CEO of the Education & Training Foundation

david-russell-130995971077514590David joined the Education and Training Foundation as CEO in January 2014.  He has grown the Foundation from a fledgling organisation to one delivering effective support programmes for leaders, teachers and others across the education and training system.

David has a wide range of policy and programme management experience on national education and skills policy in England, including the Academies Programme and the Adult Skills Strategy.  Until 2013 David was Director of ‘Closing the Gap’ in the Department for Education, responsible for FE and Vocational Education Reform, Apprenticeships 16-18, and a range of schools policies including the Pupil Premium and pupil behaviour. Prior to joining the civil service David was a teacher.

Sir Frank McLoughlin CBE, Principal of City and Islington College & Chair of CAVTL Frank McLoughlin

Frank McLoughlin is the Principal of City and Islington College. The College is graded outstanding by Ofsted and was the first College to be twice awarded the Queens Anniversary Prize, for Further and Higher Education. Frank is a founding member and ex-Chair of the influential 157 Group. He is a member of the London Councils Young People’s Education and Skills Board and the London First Employment and Skills Steering Group.

Frank was appointed by the Minister for FE and Skills to Chair the Independent Commission on Adult Vocational Teaching and Learning (CAVTL). The Commission report “It’s about work” was published in March 2013.

Frank is an honorary fellow of City University and a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. Frank was awarded a CBE in 2009 and a Knighthood in the Queen’s Birthday Honours 2015.

Paul HagerProfessor Paul Hager, University of Technology Sydney

Paul Hager is Emeritus Professor of Education at University of Technology, Sydney. A major outcome of his work with Technical and Further Education (TAFE) teachers in many and diverse occupational fields was the conviction that holistic seamless know how is the common feature of highly skilled performances of all kinds. This sparked an ongoing research interest in such topics as informal workplace learning, professional practice (‘professional’ in its broadest sense), the nature of skills and competence, and group practice.

In 2013 Educational Philosophy and Theory published a special issue celebrating his work. He is currently writing a book with David Beckett and Jeanette Lancaster, to be published by Springer, provisionally titled The Emergence of Complexity: New Perspectives on Practice, Agency and Expertise.

 If you are interested in attending the conference and/or would like to know more about it, please contact: suzanne.savage@bcu.ac.uk

OR go to https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/reimagining-further-education-conference-reimaginefe-tickets-21208624567 to book tickets

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Reimagining Further Education Conference – Book now

The conference will bring together practitioners, researchers and key figures in the field of Further Education (FE) and will cover a range of themes from apprenticeships and work-based learning to accountability and governance in FE.
FEInstead of the conventional ‘stand and deliver’ format of many conferences, ‘Reimagining Further Education’ will be organised as group conversations framed and facilitated by a discussant and chair for each of the 6 thematic strands included. By exploring positive, imaginative and creative ways forward that enhance agency, workforce development and the professional ethos of all FE practitioners, this conference aims to put the ‘confer’ back into conference!
29 Jun 2016 (9:00am – 4:00pm)
Curzon Building , 4 Cardigan Street Birmingham B4 7BD United Kingdom (Map and Directions)
Download the programme here: a5-reimagining-fe-programme-131074510792152821

If you are interested in attending the conference and/or would like to know more about it, please contact: suzanne.savage@bcu.ac.uk 

OR go to https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/reimagining-further-education-conference-reimaginefe-tickets-21208624567 to book tickets 
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FE Leadership: where to now?

Blog written by Dr Rob Smith, Reader in Education at CSPACE, @R0b5m1th Rob Smith

The role of leadership in FE has changed. The current round of Area Reviews are a testimony to that. Under incorporation, the colleges as freestanding institutions with the power to set their own contractual conditions for staff and control over their budgets developed a distinctive version of leadership that matched the assertive new profile of the sector. Not everyone bought into this (mercifully), but Roger Ward – the then chief executive of the College Employers Forum (forerunner of the AoC) seemed to set the tone. This was in keeping with the market ideology that underpinned the incorporation experiment. The FE (quasi) market was designed to be a mechanism that would lead to an improvement in standards. This is what we now call a neoliberal approach to organising FE.

This neoliberal approach was underpinned by a vision. Colleges were freed from the shackles of the Local Authority. They were free to be run on business lines because the perception was that public sector organisations were inefficient, uneconomical and ineffective. They were expected to develop in commercially-minded ways. There was a full expectation that the proportion of college budgets coming from commercial and entrepreneurial activities would increase and the proportion of college budgets coming from government funding would decrease. The aim was a sector of colleges that were virtually autonomous: purveyors of courses to the public and to employers with an ever-reducing dependence on public (government) funding. This vision has spectacularly failed to materialise.

In those terms, it’s fair to say that incorporation has failed. After all, what else do the Area Reviews signal if not that the college as a delivery unit for FE is no longer relevant? Today, more than ever, FE is being viewed by government in sectoral terms. The significance of individual colleges has been absorbed within that wider overview.

That said, the failure of incorporation is rooted as much in the almost impossible funding environment for FE that has emerged due to austerity as it is in the failure of commercial and entrepreneurial cultures two flower and produce autonomous colleges. The Area reviews are part of the machinery of a self-fulfilling prophecy. The present government believes FE is inefficient and the Area Reviews focus on this idea rather than taking the purpose of FE as a central theme.

So what is the current purpose of FE leadership?

From some perspectives, there is some mileage in viewing the leadership style of the 1990s as being part of a more general crisis of authority in our country. In the current conditions, it’s unsurprising that the role has undergone fundamental changes. Because of budgetary constraints leadership in FE has moved away from focusing on teaching and learning. It’s now much more likely to be about the proficient management of performance data. Because as everyone in the sector knows, the most important thing in colleges is to ensure of that the data is good. In some cases, that is irrespective of the reality as it is experienced by teachers and students.

So in the space of 20 years, we have shifted from a model of principalship as the leadership of a competitive, self-interested organisation looking to expand and keen to pursue business opportunities (although oddly, there are continuing echoes in the current policy of academisation). From that we have moved to a role primarily focused on balancing books and overseeing the production of a simulated version of college activities crafted to yield maximum funding returns and to satisfy OFSTED’s inspection regime.

Neither version is what we really need.

Discuss the future of FE Leadership at the Reimagining FE Conference

If you would like to be part of envisioning a new role for FE leaders, come to our collaborative conference Reimagining Further Education on 29 June 2016 at Birmingham City University’s Central Campus. Our unique discussion format is designed to take a hard look at current challenges facing FE and then together seek creative ways forward. There are 6 thematic strands to the day and one is dedicated to Leadership in FE. I hope to see you there.

Follow our hashtag at #ReimagineFE

To read the original blog post go to: https://drrobsmith1.wordpress.com/2016/05/16/fe-leadership-where-to-now/

Want to discuss this issue more? Visit http://www.bcu.ac.uk/news-events/calendar/reimagining-further-education to join us on 29 Jun 2016 (9:00am – 4:00pm) for the Reimagining Further Education conference.