Our renewed and continued commitment to FE

6 Sep 2021, 11:12


The paper will have three overarching goals going into this new and challenging year, writes Shane Chowen

The start of an academic year naturally comes with a sense of optimism and renewal. It’s an opportunity to bask, however momentarily, in the potential of what’s to come.

After all, despite the disrupted and sometimes chaotic experience in education over the last 18 months, and with little promise of a ‘normal year’ this year, staff have come back for another adventure in further education.

For students beginning their post-16 journey, they deserve the best experience the sector has to offer.

Colleges and providers will be mindful of the fact that, more so than any year previously, prior attainment means precious little and the temptation of a £11 per hour job in an Amazon warehouse will, for some students, be too hard to resist.

Recovery and reform are my watchwords this year. While pleasantly alliterative, both are complex for our sector in many ways.

Just what role should FE play as factors like Brexit and Covid coalesce on the economy?

How can FE leaders lobby most effectively for the sector as the Skills Bill reaches the House of Commons and a spending review looms in the near-distance?

Who wins as the economy recovers and FE reforms are passed, and who doesn’t?

But it’s going to take more than a deadly global pandemic to dampen the sector’s resolve to get the job done and do its bit for students and the recovering economy.

It’s that resolve and that ability to adapt and change when times get tough that keeps us coming back and is why we love FE.

At FE Week, we need to adapt too.

Taking over as editor as FE Week marks 10 years serving the further education sector was too enticing to pass up.

I firmly believe that a committed and independent press makes the sector stronger, and a strong FE sector means it can provide more people with the lifechanging opportunities in-and-out of the classroom that it did for me.

My job as editor is to dispassionately steer FE Week into the heart of the issues that matter most to our readers. Building on its first 10 years, I have three overarching goals for FE Week:

Through breaking news, expert analysis and diverse commentary, FE Week will contribute to good decision making in FE.

We will work tirelessly to cut through the noise and keep you informed about what’s going on, give you thoughtful insights and fresh perspectives on what’s to come and hold those with power to account by being forensic about the facts.

FE Week began as a weekly in-print newspaper but is now delivered to subscribers electronically. The paper is complemented by a newly redesigned website and will, from this October, be accompanied by The FE Week Podcast.

Through the paper, the website and the podcast, FE Week can achieve my second overarching goal; to foster a sense of community across FE.

With brand new features you will see more diverse voices, on-the-ground insights and provocative opinions across all of FE Week’s platforms.

Finally, FE Week will remain unapologetically pro-FE.

In a sector as diverse and as multi-faceted as ours, there will probably be times you don’t agree with something you’ve read in our pages.

Having your opinion or perspective challenged must be part of a strong sector press because it’s how we collectively grow stronger.

And, in a sector renowned for constant change and churn, FE Week will be reliable and resolute in its mission for the sector with zero chance of being abandoned by faceless global shareholders.

The coming weeks and months will not be short of challenges and difficulties, but nor will they be short of moments of inspiration and growth.

So, whether you’ve been with us since day one or you’re coming to FE Week with fresh eyes, join me on this journey, and subscribe today.

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