Ferrotype

£7bn 363 colleges 4.2m learners 263,257 staff

The Glacial Age

Most people think of the coming Age of Austerity, but those cheery people in the Audit Commission prefer to prepare us for a Glacial Age.

The Audit Commission knows that “all public bodies face a difficult and testing future” , that after the election financial resources could fall sharply, and  for some the strains this imposes could be too intense.In their experience, problems with money can be a symbol of wider difficulties

So they look at what organisations can do to help themselves prepare for the Glacial Age.

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February 9, 2010 Posted by | austerity funding, SMART goals | , , | Leave a comment

It’s only EMA Emotion

Interesting to keep an eye on austerity sur le continent

Teachers in Greece are going on strike thrice in the next month as Greece’s austerity programme begins [wage freeze for public sector workers  for starters]

In almost-neighbouring Romania the austerity package includes sacking 15,000 teachers, and  Gavin Hewitt [him off the telly] points out that there are four times as many teachers per student in Greece as in Finland, so ………

Finland and Sweden are the model for much current thinking on reshaping education after the 6 May election

And there is also a great deal of eyeing up of previously sacred cows.

There is, for example, some scepticism about the value of  Educational Maintenance Allowances [shadow children’s secretary Michael Gove has called the EMA a flop],  although EMAs do have  solid research evidence of their effectiveness.

In colleges, EMAs seem to work, but  “How to Save £50bn” has an uncomfortable analysis of EMA

Chart 2.1 shows that while there has been an increase in the percentage of 16-18 year olds in education or training since the EMA was launched, from 75.7 per cent in 2004 to 79.7 per cent in 2008, this is negligible … also a decrease in 16-18 year olds in employment, from 14.7 per cent to 10.0 per cent.

… NEETs increased from 9.6  to 10.3 per  between 2004 and 2008.
These are poor results, and show that EMA is not a good use of money.

  • Abolishing EMA would save £530,000,000 a year.
  • Are the figures in Chart 2.1 valid?

and then

  • Is EMA a “front line service” or is it a back office function, and therefore saveable?
  • Any savings from scrapping EMA would be small beer when set against the £175bn deficit – but every little helps.
  • Taking a bolder line,  could the [complicated and rigorous but existing] EMA system be harnessed as a participation-led college funding system. Young people cash in their course credit, and continue to get a cash back EMA  in return for attendance and achievement ?

February 4, 2010 Posted by | austerity funding | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

£2bn wasted each year

“How £2 billion of the Further Education budget is wasted on useless activities – and how we should reform the system”  looks like something that I couldn’t pass by without comment! although it has taken a couple of weeks to digest what is being claimed.

Alison Wolf explained what and how on video here – and published the document here and – party political warning! on ConservativeHome .

In the week that most colleges in England have been told that their Adult Funding budget for next September is being  cut by 10%-20% is she talking sense?

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January 28, 2010 Posted by | austerity funding, further education, SMART goals | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Watch the list of small colleges

Looking at the most recent data on the number of people employed in further education colleges in England, I pulled out a list of those colleges with large numbers of staff, and those with small numbers.

The largest college is City of Manchester with 3,670 contracts, and the smallest is Derwentside with 215.

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January 25, 2010 Posted by | austerity funding, list | , , | Leave a comment

Smart cut : pay teachers more

Teaching in small classes doesn’t do anything for learners – it has no effect on their outcomes.

Small classes are boring for students, and for teachers.

Small classes are not needed, because so few people need them.

Small classes take money out of the teaching budget, and stop teachers being paid more.

So in considering how to save money in colleges, we certainly don’t need to protect small classes.

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January 22, 2010 Posted by | austerity funding, SMART goals | , , , | Leave a comment

Top 10 Local Authorities to look out for

The Learning and Skills Council  used to allocate and distribute  funding to colleges, but  from next year local authorities will take over the distribution.

They haven’t been involved with further education colleges for many years  –  which are the big players now?

The latest data from LSC on allocations to local authorities shows that

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January 21, 2010 Posted by | austerity funding, list | , , , | Leave a comment

Top Task: Innovate

Innovation is what good, effective teachers do; so it’s what college managers need to do.

I looked out  a PowerPoint from an old workshop on teachers and target setting.

My workshop always started with John Hattie’s work. He collated research from all over, involving huge numbers of students, and compared the size of any effect on learning. His heartening conclusion was that it is what teachers do in the classroom that makes the biggest difference.

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January 19, 2010 Posted by | austerity funding, SMART goals | , , , | 1 Comment

Let’s keep it simple please

We do need to get smarter at running further education colleges, but lets keep it simple please.

I have been looking at the “Expert Advice” from the UK Commission for Employment and Skills [UKCES is the outcome from the Leitch report] on how to “build a more strategic, agile and labour-market led employment and skills system” from Autumn 2009

Much of it is about how UKCES sees that we should “simplify”  funding, qualifications etc , but some of their proposals desperately need to go through the reality wringer.
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January 18, 2010 Posted by | austerity funding, SMART goals | , , , , | Leave a comment

Spend to Save

I got off the train at Brentwood, and set off into the gloom to the very far end of the car park. It was only when I swung my bag from one hand to the other to get my car keys out, that I realised I was lugging a carrier bag of plants from the Caledonian Road  market  and not my suitcase which was where I had left it, in the overhead rack., and disappearing off to Southend-on-Sea. Where it disappeared.

I didn’t lose much of any great value. However, my toilet bag had a pair of scissors which always seemed just right the right shape for my toes, and the family pair which I will have to use now are far too fiddly. Other stuff is proving remarkably difficult to replace – my old razor isn’t made any more, so I bought a wind-up rechargeable one which is OK, but!

No doubt I will get used to the replacements, and my toe nails and sideburns will be as well-groomed as they were before, or even better, but it isn’t until things are gone that you realise their value.

This week has seen a cluster of stories about organisations having to face up to the possibility that they may have to leave suitcases of money on the government’s train as it speeds off towards Deficit-on-Sea

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January 15, 2010 Posted by | austerity funding | , , | Leave a comment