Nick Linford

  • DWP Kickstart gateway firms approved by algorithm, with no trading history or based abroad

    [UPDATE: Five days after publication of this article, the DWP got in touch to say that they use human checks as well as their algorithm in the gateway approval process.]   An FE Week investigation has found dozens of companies selected by the Department for Work and Pensions to become “Kickstart gateways” with little to

    23.30 Jan. 24th, 2021 | News

  • AEB procurement at a time of reform - what we now know

    The nationally procured adult education budget contracts with the Education and Skills Funding Agency come to an end in July this year, so a new £80 million procurement round will take place, as reported by FE Week in October. On 16 December the ESFA published an early engagement notice on the Contract Finder website, “to

    13.15 Jan. 14th, 2021 | News, Opinion

  • Army 'on standby' to support schools and colleges with Covid testing

    The government told the media last night that the military will be “on standby”  to support secondary schools and colleges with Covid-19 testing from next week. Details on how to request the support has not yet been published. What FE Week has been told is a deal has been agreed by the Ministry of Defence

    0.00 Dec. 29th, 2020 | News

  • DfE publishes 8 college intervention reports on a Friday after lengthy delay

    The Department for Education has this morning published eight intervention reports based on FE Commissioner visits that in some cases took place more than a year ago. These are the first reports to be published since Gillian Keegan (pictured) was appointed as minister in March 2020. The reports were accompanied by a letter from Keegan,

    10.06 Oct. 9th, 2020 | News

  • Apprenticeship assessment oversight change was needed as Ofqual has the regulatory levers to enforce changes

    End-point assessment is a key aspect of the government’s apprenticeship reforms, providing an independent test that an apprentice has achieved occupational competence at the end of their apprenticeship. It only succeeds where it is seen to provide a fair, reliable and consistent test of whether  different apprentices have reached competence and that includes assessing their

    11.18 Aug. 6th, 2020 | Opinion

  • Confirmed: Exams watchdog to takeover apprenticeship assessment quality checks

    Exams watchdog Ofqual is to take the lead in a  “new simplified external quality assurance (EQA) system” for apprenticeships it has been confirmed this afternoon. The Institute for Apprenticeship and Technical Education (IfATE) had been consulting on ending the current complex arrangements in which employer bodies and even the IfATE themselves are responsible for oversight

    16.11 Aug. 4th, 2020 | News

  • Colleges in administration miss third transfer date as accountants continue to rack up fees

    The only FE colleges in administration, Hadlow College and West Kent College, continue to be owned and run by accountants at BDO after failing to transfer to North Kent College this weekend. FE Week reported in May that the Education and Skills Funding Agency had been unsuccessful in agreeing a financial deal to incentivise North

    9.03 Aug. 3rd, 2020 | News

  • Revealed: Rules for new apprenticeship employer incentives

    The Education and Skills Funding Agency has this afternoon published details of the eligibility rules for the new apprenticeship employer incentives. Cash “bonuses” for new hires that start an apprenticeship were first announced by the chancellor as part of the summer statement last Wednesday. From August 2020 until the 31 January 2021, businesses taking on

    12.21 Jul. 14th, 2020 | News

  • Plan to triple traineeships with £111m to include £1,000 employer 'bonus'

    The chancellor is expected to announce on Wednesday a £1,000 employer incentive funded from an injection of £111 million into the flagging traineeship programme, says the Treasury. A Treasury spokesperson said the £1,000 bonus will be limited to 10 trainees per employer and the budget increase will also pay for a 55 percent increase in

    7.54 Jul. 6th, 2020 | News

  • Ofqual publish final plans for exam alternatives this summer

    This afternoon, as promised, Ofqual has published final details for their “exceptional arrangements for awarding qualifications this summer”. Click here to read the announcement and download the accompanying documents. Sally Collier, Chief Regulator, Ofqual, said: “In the unprecedented circumstances we face this summer, these exceptional arrangements are the fairest way of making sure students have

    13.08 May. 22nd, 2020 | News

  • Exam boards seeking more than £16 million from DfE for Covid flexibility costs

    A “formal” request for more than £16 million to be “reimbursed”  has been submitted by awarding organisations (AOs) to the Department for Education to pay for extra resources needed to implement an alternative to summer exams, FE Week can reveal. The Federation of Awarding Bodies (FAB), which represents over 100 AOs, has written to the

    12.02 May. 22nd, 2020 | News