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In the News

EuroSkills day 2: Intricate design could bag Danielle florsitry gold

Danielle Scandone came out of day two of EuroSkills Gothenburg feeling reenergised thanks to her intricate fingers that produced a smashing floristry body adornment. The Merrist Wood College 21-year-old (pictured above) has spent the last two days completing four different flower arrangements. And she feels most confident about one in particular, her body adornment that include epaulettes – a flower piece that sits on the shoulder. She told FE Week at the end of day two: “I have six tasks to do over the three days and done four so far. “I’ve done a hand-tie bouquet with a frame, a floor standing arrangement, a body adornment, and a wreath. “Tomorrow I’ve got a bridal bouquet and a table arrangement. “But my body adornment today I felt I really smashed it and enjoyed doing it and I come out feeling really reenergised from it, I knew I had done well and got what I wanted. “I made epaulettes, a piece that sits on the shoulder, and I really enjoyed it. That is my sort of bag, all the fine detail stuff involved in that.” She added that the event as whole is something she “didn’t expect” and it has been “quite...

Wilshaw couldn’t resist final swipe at colleges

Sir Michael Wilshaw couldn’t resist another high profile opportunity to bash colleges. It’s clear that his support team, including his FE deputy Paul Joyce, had helped produce an annual report designed to support a college sector struggling to implement an English and maths resit policy that “was not having the desired impact in practice”. The Ofsted report says: “Inspection evidence shows that, for some students, having to retake their GCSE can be demotivating” and goes on to suggest “an alternative level two qualification may be more appropriate.” But Sir Michael couldn’t help himself when questioned about the policy after his speech. He blamed colleges, who are forced by the government to deliver the GCSE to some students. Instead of questioning the policy, as per his report, he said there was “simply no excuse for a college letting down large numbers of students.” I then challenged him, pointing out “the policy is that they must have a GCSE” and asking “is your opinion that it should be the GCSE?” to which he said: “Why not?” It shows yet again that he says what he thinks, with little to no thought for the evidence his organisation gathers at inspection. I’m confident the...

Disappointment over further delay to FE maintenance loans decision

Sector leaders have been left “disappointed” after the government delayed its decision on whether to provide maintenance loans for higher level learners studying technical education in FE. On September 9, FE Week reported that the Department for Education had stalled on the issue, but promised to “make a statement in the autumn”. With the season drawing to a close, FE Week followed up with the DfE, asking if they would be announcing the decision by the end of November. The answer was non-commital, with a spokesperson only prepared to say: “We will set out our next steps on FE maintenance loans in due course.” The department was unable to give any firm details on the date of any future announcement, meaning there has been a further delay. It is important to ensure there is access to the loan scheme so that people can use it to gain the necessary skills for the workplace Julian Gravatt (pictured), assistant chief executive of the Association of Colleges, said: “It’s disappointing to see that the DfE has pushed back the announcement of its decision on providing maintenance loans for those studying at higher levels. “With the current economic uncertainty, there’s demand for people with...

Careers company coverage a postcode lottery?

A government-backed careers company does not cater to every college around the country, including the whole of London, FE Week has learned. We have repeatedly pressed the Careers and Enterprise Company, which was set up in July 2015 to connect young people with the world of work, for details of the colleges that it works with. After being told three months ago that we couldn’t have the information for “data protection” reasons, we were this week finally given a list of the colleges and local enterprise partnerships in its “enterprise adviser network”. It revealed a postcode lottery for FE coverage, with 15 LEPs not covered – and London completely absent. Claudia Harris, CEC’s chief executive, confirmed that the company did not work with any of the capital’s 44 FE and sixth form colleges. During an exclusive interview with FE Week, she blamed the lack of coverage on “ramp-up”, and “the fact that we are only 18 months in”. “The offer will be made available to all schools and colleges over the coming years,” she said. Ms Harris said the CEC was working with “nearly all” local enterprise partnerships across the country, but the list of colleges that FE Week saw...