Happy New Year! 2016 has been and gone and now we are almost a week into 2017 already! We reveal our Further Education wishes for the coming year!
It’s hard to believe that it’s the start of the New Year already. The Further Education sector was so busy in 2016 that it feels like it just flew by! A significant number of colleges merged with each other throughout the year, the Department for Education took over Further Education from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, and a £4.5 million fund was allocated to colleges for degree apprenticeships, to name just a few key events.
Now that it’s the beginning of a New Year, it’s time to look forward into 2017 and decide what we need to achieve to make 2017 the best year for Further Education yet.
Merges between colleges have taken place throughout the last year, but one of the best things about Further Education is the local nature of the provision. Colleges are close to students’ hometowns, making it easy to attend and accessible to visit. There are also close links between the colleges and the local community surrounding them, often allowing students to get invaluable experience or advice from local employers. It is important that in merging lots of colleges together, we do not lose the local nature and support of Further Education Colleges.
Shared services are vital and should definitely be carried forward and encouraged throughout 2017, and not just with colleges that have merged together. Smaller colleges simply do not have the same funds or resources as the larger colleges, but can offer things bigger colleges cannot. By sharing services between colleges throughout the UK, we can promote the learning and training of all students, from all backgrounds and areas.
The Further Education sector also needs to receive the funding and recognition that it deserves. Too often over recent years, FE has failed to receive the funding and support that it needs to develop and achieve all that it wants to. It is pushed back behind higher education or traditional academic routes. This needs to change in 2017 to give Further Education the credit that it merits.
Our hope is that by the end of 2017, colleges will have retained their local provision and support across the country, but will be sharing their services and resources with each other to encourage the learning and development of all UK students.