12 months of FE Week: May

For the last 12 days of 2019 we’re running back through the previous 12 months of FE Week. Today we take a look at May…

Crisis gripped the sector when Hadlow College became the first college to be put into administration.

An FE Week spread on the scandal told how FE Commissioner Richard Atkins had been “genuinely shocked” by what his team found on site, and how the college’s problems could have been uncovered sooner if the ESFA had checked Hadlow’s self-assessed financial health score of “good” against its accounts, which told a very different story.

It was also revealed that the National College for High-Speed Rail, which has since consulted on broadening its offering and was changing its name, needed a £4.55 million DfE bailout to sign off its accounts.

Moulton College in Northamptonshire had its future questioned after a second shock grade four from Ofsted, while there was contrasting emotions as the Institute for Apprenticeships’ latest funding band changes were announced.

The institute also revealed that it was to trial “gender-neutral” language in a bid to boost the number of female STEM apprentices – after research found “masculine” words in job adverts, such as “ambition”, “challenging” and “leader”, deter them from applying.

We delved into the government’s latest attainment figures and found how the English and maths GCSE resit policy was helping tens of thousands of students, and reported on the key findings and recommendations from the much anticipated Augar review of post-18 education.

It was also revealed that a cash-strapped college group, Birmingham Metropolitan, was to close Stourbridge College in bid to pay back debt, even though it had undergone a £5 million makeover just four years ago. The move sparked a local backlash which later featured numerous times in Parliament.

FE Week went behind bars to get a look at prison education: much calmer than an FE college, is what we found.

We also profiled Nazir Afzal, the chair of Hopwood Hall College in Manchester, who said he is “desperately concerned” about how the government treats FE, and we reported on this year’s national finals of the Association of Colleges sport championships, where the south east retained the coveted Wilkinson Sword trophy for the third successive year.