DfE permanently scraps annual FE learner and employer satisfaction surveys

The survey is usually taken by hundreds of thousands of students and has run for most of the past decade

The survey is usually taken by hundreds of thousands of students and has run for most of the past decade

13 Jun 2022, 16:49

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The annual FE choices learner satisfaction survey has been permanently axed, the Department for Education announced today.

The survey, which is usually taken by hundreds of thousands of students and has been running for most of the past decade, was paused in 2019/20 and 2020/21 due to the coronavirus outbreak.

In 2018/19, over 345,000 students and apprentices responded to questions about the quality of teaching, whether their support needs were met and whether they would recommend their college or training provider.

Announcing the decision to cancel the survey going forward, DfE chief statistician Neil McIvor said: “DfE does not intend to run the satisfaction survey again in its current form. DfE will instead be considering the most useful information to collect from learners that best supports the proposals laid out in last year’s public consultation document [Skills for Jobs: a new further education funding and accountability system] – taking into account the responses to that consultation.”

The funding and accountability framework consultation closed in October but the response has still not been released. It is therefore unclear exactly how learner feedback will be gathered and used in the future.

However, the consultation did propose introducing a new publicly available “performance dashboard”, which would provide a “performance snapshot of individual colleges for all interested parties and public scrutiny, as well as an overview of how well the local and national FE system is performing”.

The dashboard, if given the go ahead, would include a list of performance indicators that “reflect what excellent delivery looks like”, consisting of “student outcomes, employers’ and students’ experience, and how well a provider is engaging with meeting local skills needs”.

The FE choices employer satisfaction survey, which was also paused in 2019/20 due to Covid, has also been permanently canned, the DfE confirmed.

Today’s announcement comes a week after the DfE launched a new apprentice feedback tool, which followed a similar employer feedback tool that was introduced in 2019.

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