Right time to take the tech challenge?

A response to the FE Week Technology Supplement September 2016

“Right time to take the tech challenge?” Is the title of the opening piece by Jude Burke for the Technology Supplement-2016 published by FE Week, which looks at ‘all things technology-related for the FE and Skills sector.’ Collating views and opinions of key stakeholders and sharing some of the many ways that colleges and other providers are embracing new and emerging technologies. But the right time? When was the right time, Jude? [Read more…]

Is your information past its sell by date?

All too often I read a report or survey on Learning Technology to find that although it is presented as though new, on closer inspection, I find that the information it relies upon to form a conclusion may be traced back to information from over a decade ago or even further. This particularly applies to technology for the work based and adult learning sector such as e-Assessment Portfolios for apprenticeships which some organisations appear to ignore – which begs a few questions: [Read more…]

7 days can be a long time in FE & Skills


But it took a lot longer than that for so many learning providers to become ‘less than good’.

Over the past seven (ok ten) days a minority of organisations in the FE & Skills sector and in particular colleges, have through publications and articles come under severe criticism for the decline in performance of leadership and of particular interest to me, that related to the quality of apprenticeship delivery. I must repeat that the criticism is directed at a minority of learning providers, albeit a significant percentage, which when counted in number of learners is nothing short of disgraceful. Thankfully, the majority are the complete opposite, which also begs the question, why is it that organisations with similar infrastructure, funding and demographics are poles apart in delivering similar quality of teaching and learning. [Read more…]

Doing more for less in FE and Skills


During a week of disturbing headlines for education, the article Public Accounts Committee to look at FE ‘financial meltdown’ caught my eye, relating as it does to the ongoing saga of FE college finances. Including a reference to the report by the National Audit Office (NAO), which in July stated that the ‘financial health of the FE college sector had been in decline with 110 colleges recording an operating deficit in 2013/14.’   Well clearly the circumstances won’t have improved much since then.  [Read more…]

Going Digital


What does it take to get FE & Skills off the fence?

The word on the street, blogs, forums etc. Is that the use of technology to deliver teaching, learning and assessment is not as high as one would believe possible. [Read more…]

Leadership and management


Leadership & management in education is receiving bad press recently, the latest related to under performing schools, but clearly the increased number of learning providers in the FE & Skills sector ‘requiring improvement’ may also have something to do with senior managers either not best equipped to ‘manage’ but have ‘got the job’ anyway. Or simply assume that the rapidly changing world affecting every aspect of human life, doesn’t relate to their organisation. I am of course talking about the use of so called technology. The technology that learners, employers, parents, grandparents take as normal and businesses strive to find new ways of using to improve their products and services to be competitive or simply stay in business. [Read more…]

Professional development for FE & Skills Practitioners

Staff development FE skills, incentive-8.info

CPD1How would you feel if you went to…

a doctors and, while waiting for your appointment, discovered that the doctor hadn’t had any Professional development 4 practitioner training since they qualified in the 70’s? [Read more…]

When is an IT strategy, not an IT strategy?

Strategy IT

In the context of using technology in the FE & Skills sector, all too often it’s when there isn’t an up to date strategy in the first place, other than in the minds of the executive and or the IT department. Many strategies were produced/written when Becta or LSIS had money to give to colleges for technology enhancements which required an IT strategy. Not many have been updated since.

Even allowing for some truly remarkable exceptions, it is my experience that many Learning Providers in the FE & Skills sector, do not have a comprehensive vision for using and or introducing technology in a cohesive manner and often no formal strategy or action plan to make appropriate use of departmental purchases of hardware or software, let alone make it part of a strategic objective. We know this because? [Read more…]