Expert Contributor

  • My review and reaction to the Government's response

    I am passionate about the role apprenticeships have to play in helping to re-energise our economy. They are a great way to bring new blood into a business and to ensure that new opportunities are seized and important skills are not lost. It has been gratifying, therefore, that the recommendations I put forward in my

    1.48 Sep. 7th, 2012 | Opinion

  • Holt prepares the ground for greater SME involvement with apprenticeships

    The latest in a series of reports on apprenticeships came off the conveyor belt last week just as many 18 year olds were considering their options in the light of their exam results and the Government was said to be considering its options for stimulating growth and employment. The focus of this latest report was

    10.37 Sep. 5th, 2012 | Opinion

  • A new era of funding for the FE sector

    It will come as no surprise to you when I say funding agencies embark on a complete reworking of their funding rules only with trepidation. Introducing a new funding system for the further education sector was never going to be an easy task. As I take up my new job as Interim Chief Executive of

    13.32 Jul. 5th, 2012 | Opinion

  • Matthew Coffey, National Director at Ofsted, responds to FE Week analysis

    I read with interest the article in FE week on a sample of colleges from the 157 group and their inspection judgements. The first, and most important, point to make is that the inspection framework (CIF) has not changed. The article suggests that a new common inspection framework was introduced in September 2011. It wasn’t.

    15.44 May. 17th, 2012 | Opinion

  • What next: Raising the participation age

    Next year it will be compulsory for 16-year-olds to stay in education or to undertake part-time training while in work. Parliament passed a law in 2008 to raise the participation age. This will finally take effect in 2013; two years later, in 2015, the law will apply to 17-year-olds. Whatever you think of this reform,

    10.08 Mar. 9th, 2012 | Opinion

  • Reflecting on the departures of the ‘big guns’

    Two big guns in the further education and skills sector this week announced plans to step down. The fact that embargoed government statements on both were issued simultaneously made it look like a dumping operation – a rumour the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills was quick to scotch. Geoff Russell, chief executive of the

    10.45 Jan. 20th, 2012 | Opinion

  • Shady examiners and suspicious seminars are nothing new

    The conduct of exam boards and freelance examiners has been subject to much scrutiny following the Daily Telegraph’s recent exposé. Video footage submitted by undercover reporters has shown chief examiners explaining the “cycle” of exam questions to worried teachers, as well as the wording students can use to achieve higher marks. The seminar, held in London

    17.25 Dec. 9th, 2011 | Opinion

  • It’s about time we rescued apprenticeships from politics

    Apprenticeships are far too popular with the general public for their own good. It’s so easy for politicians to bask in a warm glow of approval when they announce increased support for apprenticeships that they are currently seen as the answer to far more problems than they can realistically solve. Here are four examples. –

    14.33 Nov. 25th, 2011 | Opinion