Latest Public Sector News

05.11.13

Reform needed for further education – Skills Commission

More focus on intervention and quality is needed in further education, the Skills Commission has urged. A new report, chaired by Dame Ruth Silver and Barry Sheerman MP, finds that important cultural and logistical reforms are “urgently needed”.

Recommendations include greater sectoral and institutional self-scrutiny to ensure standards are maintained and improved, as well as a call for BIS to do more to clarify and communicate respective roles and responsibilities of sector bodies in the new, emerging FE system.

College corporations must adopt better scrutiny procedures, and better early warning systems must be implemented to allow early interventions to take place. Ofsted should also examine the CQC and QAA model of inspection to include greater stakeholder engagement in assessment of learning and skills providers, the report states.

Speaking ahead of the launch, inquiry chair Matt Atkinson said: “The FE sector is too important to the success of the UK economy for us within the sector to allow institutional underperformance or failure. This inquiry has shown that in many instances, the FE sector intervenes effectively, ensures quality consistently and, in doing so, outperforms other public service sectors.

“But our report also demonstrates that further reform is still needed. As we move forward in this new landscape, we must keep our eyes fixed firmly upon ensuring quality of provision and preventing failure.

“We need to start a debate – underpinned by a new, genuine culture of collaboration between providers, regulators and government – about how we do this. This report has laid out clear recommendations to get this process firmly underway.”

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