LSIS funding to cease as chair plans legacy strategy

The government has confirmed the Learning and Skills Improvement Service (LSIS) will stop receiving funding from August 2013.

The news led LSIS to announce it had “no alternative but to begin a managed exit from its delivery of improvement services for the further education and skills sector”.

Dame Ruth Silver, former principal of Lewisham College and chair of LSIS since it was formed through the transfer of assets from both the Centre for Excellence in Leadership (CEL) and the Quality Improvement Agency (QIA) in 2008, spoke to FE Week after today’s announcement.

One thing that will preoccupy me over the next month will be a legacy strategy.”

“LSIS is an Aladdin’s cave of riches,” said Dame Silver.

“LSIS will disappear as an organisation but its purpose will remain and the functions are on the shelf to be handed over, so one thing that will preoccupy me over the next month will be a legacy strategy.”

LSIS will cease delivering courses, training conferences and other support, including the provision of grants direct to providers, on a phased basis between March and August 2013.

The reins of LSIS will most likely be taken up by the FE Guild, which has begun plans to consult on the creation of a single body to set professional standards and codes of behaviour, as well as develop qualifications.

Details of when programmes and services will end are being discussed with BIS and partners. Decisions on specific end dates will be released in the New Year.

Chief Executive of LSIS, Rob Wye, told FE Week: “It is our aim to provide the planned high quality support and services we have already committed to at least until the end of this financial year, and in some cases through to the end of the academic year. It is vital that those who are committed to improvement activities over this period are not impeded in achieving their goals.

“For a significant proportion of the improvement services that LSIS has delivered so successfully for the sector over the last four years, it is expected that these will end completely by August 2013. We will also be exploring alternative destinations for our programmes and activities, so that the sector may continue to have expertly trained leaders and governors, continued support for teaching and learning, and assistance with its own improvement.”

Dame Silver added: “LSIS has accelerated the drive for excellence. Providers who have benefited from our support have demonstrated that improvement is possible. We know that those colleges and providers supported by LSIS improved by at least one grade in their next inspection.

“Consequently, the sector has leaders who are better equipped to face the challenges ahead and governors are clearer about the role they must now play. Practitioners tell us that having been supported by us they now are able to provide a more tailored and effective approach to teaching which better meets learners needs.”

More comment and analysis will be in the next edition of FE Week