Minister sets out success measures for FE Commissioner

The FE commissioner’s performance will be judged by the number of colleges falling into intervention among other measures, according to a letter from the skills minister published today.

The missive from Anne Milton, dated March 27, sets out a number of objectives and outcome measures for Richard Atkins to achieve in 2017/18.

“Given that you have a wide remit, and your knowledge and expertise gained through your extensive experience in further education is constantly in demand, I felt that it would be helpful to write to you to set out my expectations formally,” she wrote.

Mr Atkins’ “overarching goal” is to “help the government improve the quality of education provided by FE colleges, and reduce the risk of colleges failing”.

For each of his six objectives there are a number of outcome measures that she “will take into consideration when reflecting on the success of your work”.

The first of these is “time colleges spend in formal intervention”, with the objective being to shorten this time.

The success of the FE commissioner’s diagnostic assessments will be judged by the “number of colleges meeting formal intervention triggers” – with the intention that this will drop.

The same two measures will also be used to judge his leadership of a team of deputies and advisers.

Meanwhile, the “performance of colleges post-merger” and “the number of colleges that have remained standalone after area reviews falling into financial difficulty” are the markers of Mr Atkins’ objective to improve the financial performance of colleges.

The success of his efforts to provide system leadership to the sector will be judged by the “proportion of Ofsted ‘Good’ and ‘Outstanding’ colleges” as well as feedback from the college improvement board, the Principals’ Reference Group – aka Atkins’ Aides – and the National Leaders of FE.

Feedback, this time from “minister and policy officials”, will be used to measure the quality of Mr Atkins’ advice on policy development.

“I hope this helps provide clarity and focus to your continued work as the FE Commissioner, for which I am especially grateful,” Ms Milton wrote.

“It has been a pleasure working with you since I became Skills Minister and I hope we can both see our efforts bring the college education that people rightly expect and deserve.”

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  1. That seems like an impossible position the FE Commissioner has been placed in. The Commissioner’s success is based on providers not messing up. Providers not messing up is largely based on the availability of both adequate funding and good staff. I expect there will all of a sudden be a radical reduction in the number of providers having an intervention. Ludicrous.