• Ofsted criticised for allowing college mergers to be excuse for turning a blind eye to failure

    The chair of the influential education select committee has called on Ofsted to “learn the lessons” from Learndirect, after an FE Week investigation found failing colleges that still hadn’t been visited by the education watchdog a year after they merged. Mid-Cheshire College, rated ‘inadequate’ for the second time in a row in May 2017, merged

    7.00 Aug. 3rd, 2018 | News

  • Outgoing ESFA chief takes "personal responsibility" for Learndirect decisions

    The outgoing head of the ESFA has claimed personal responsibility for the decision not to terminate Learndirect’s adult education budget contract after its ‘inadequate’ Ofsted rating. Although the DfE’s permanent secretary Jonathan Slater denied at the same meeting that the UK’s largest training provider had been given special treatment, Peter Lauener insisted it had been

    18.10 Oct. 12th, 2017 | News

  • What government can learn from Learndirect

    The government needs a skills strategy that cuts across every department, argues Stephen Evans The recent scandal involving Learndirect, coupled with the ongoing troubles in our procurement processes, shows the need for a clear vision for learning and skills. The Learndirect affair opens up a whole set of questions around corporate governance that also apply

    5.00 Sep. 25th, 2017 | Opinion

  • Education select committee to investigate subcontracting

    The Commons education select committee will investigate subcontracting, and Learndirect is expected to feature prominently. The committee, now chaired by former apprenticeships and skills minister Robert Halfon, met for the first time since the recent general election on September 12. Mr Halfon confirmed that it will place heavy scrutiny on FE. “We have agreed to

    14.53 Sep. 13th, 2017 | News

  • Learndirect and DfE scandal referred to NAO by Public Accounts Committee chair

    The Learndirect scandal is expected to face a National Audit Office investigation following a request from the Public Accounts Committee, FE Week can reveal. In a series of events that will be familiar to FE Week readers, the largest training provider in the UK has been afforded special treatment by the DfE and retains all

    22.15 Sep. 11th, 2017 | News

  • Minister 'misled' MPs over apprenticeships at Learndirect

    MPs were “misled” in Parliament by the skills minister Anne Milton today, after she claimed apprenticeships are “no longer offered” by Learndirect. The minister was grilled by Labour’s Wes Streeting on the controversy engulfing the nation’s largest FE provider, which is increasingly seen as being offered highly preferential treatment by the Department for Education. Even

    18.49 Sep. 11th, 2017 | News

  • EXCLUSIVE: DfE's decision to defend small school sixth form cost £76,000 in fees

    A legal challenge brought against the government by the Association of Colleges over the opening of a small-school sixth form last year has cost the tax payer over £75,000, FE Week can reveal.  According to a Freedom of Information we submitted to the Department for Education in July, it paid out a huge £60,000 for

    17.10 Aug. 21st, 2017 | News

  • There is no such thing as equality in funding or inspection

    The strange case of Learndirect’s long-awaited ‘inadequate’ grade shows that providers in this country are not created equal, argues former Ofsted HMI Phillip Hatton The history of Learndirect is interesting when you consider what it is today. Almost 20 years ago, I was sent to a launch event with Dr Anne Wright, the first chief

    13.30 Aug. 17th, 2017 | Opinion

  • What do the people behind the privatisation of Learndirect think now?

    Former publicly-owned FE giant Learndirect recently lost a High Court battle to quash an ‘inadequate’ rating from Ofsted, which could prove devastating for its very existence. FE Week has spoken to major players in its 2011 privatisation, including Vince Cable, who was ultimately responsible for a sale considered by Labour, before Ofsted’s full report is

    18.33 Aug. 16th, 2017 | News

  • Special Investigation: Over 1,600 jobs at risk after Learndirect fails bid to overturn Ofsted 'inadequate'

    The country’s largest FE provider has lost a High Court bid to quash an as-yet unpublished ‘inadequate’ Ofsted rating, FE Week can reveal, leaving more than 1,600 of its staff at risk of losing their jobs. Learndirect failed in its judicial review to overturn the damning report on August 4 – the release of which

    14.00 Aug. 14th, 2017 | News

  • Mystery surrounds late Learndirect performance breach

    The nation’s largest FE provider has finally been hit with a serious performance breach notice, a month after its apprenticeship achievement rates plummeted below minimum standards. But some in the sector are wondering why the notice did not appear earlier – or why it was only eventually included in the government’s notices of concern list

    18.14 Jul. 17th, 2017 | News