• FE commissioner: check with me before appointing a principal

    The FE commissioner has urged college governors to check with him before appointing a principal as part of a crackdown on “serial offenders” ahead of the incoming college insolvency regime. Richard Atkins was speaking exclusively to FE Week in the same week he was reappointed to the role for another two years. “I would encourage

    11.00 Nov. 30th, 2018 | News

  • Richard Atkins re-appointed FE commissioner for further 2 years

    Richard Atkins has been re-appointed FE commissioner for a further two years, the Department for Education has revealed today. The announcement, which comes two years after the former Exeter College principal took over the reins from Sir David Collins, follows an exclusive FE Week interview with the commissioner earlier this week in which he recapped

    9.49 Nov. 29th, 2018 | News

  • FE commissioner annual report: number of colleges put into intervention drops by more than half

    The number of colleges referred for formal intervention by the FE commissioner fell by more than half last year – and none them were the result of an ‘inadequate’ Ofsted grade, according to Richard Atkins’ 2017/18 annual report, published today. But the number of colleges in financial difficulties referred to Mr Atkins and his team

    10.54 Nov. 20th, 2018 | News

  • Bids reopen for £13m strategic college improvement fund

    Colleges can bid for the remaining £13 million from the strategic college improvement fund using newly released guidance. The first round of the fund was launched last year, when 14 struggling colleges shared £2 million. Today’s announcement invites struggling colleges, supported by a stronger institution, to ask for money to help them improve in specific

    12.52 Jun. 28th, 2018 | News

  • FE commissioner reflects on six months of change

    Six months ago the FE commissioner embarked on a series of new initiatives designed to support colleges before they get into too much difficulty. Using diagnostic assessments and peer-to-peer support, Richard Atkins aims to avoid a repeat of the high-profile college failures of recent months. These new measures are all the more important, given the

    8.00 Jun. 25th, 2018 | News

  • Hull College boss: How I'm taking it out of intensive care

    Hull College chief executive Michelle Swithenbank probably has the toughest job in FE right now. The former nurse has been charged with taking a college which has received the largest ever government bailout to any FE institution out of intensive care and back on the road to recovery. It’s a task that would challenge the

    10.07 Jun. 22nd, 2018 | News

  • Atkins: Struggling colleges will still need stopgap funds

    Colleges that get into financial difficulty will still need funding to “oil the wheels” once the bailout tap has been turned off, the FE commissioner has said in an exclusive interview with FE Week. Struggling colleges currently have access to the restructuring facility and exceptional financial support (EFS), but these will each be withdrawn later

    11.30 Jun. 15th, 2018 | News

  • FE commissioner recruiting new national leaders of governance

    The FE commissioner is on the hunt for recruits to join his army of national leaders of governance. Serving governors or clerks from grade one or two colleges can apply for the role, which pays £300 a day for an estimated 50 days’ work a year. They will provide mentoring and support to governors at

    0.01 Jun. 15th, 2018 | News

  • Commissioner credits improvements at college Ofsted branded 'unsafe'

    The FE Commissioner has recognised improvements at a financially challenged college that was recently branded grade four by Ofsted for delivering “unsafe” training. But Richard Atkins’ intervention summary report on Moulton College, still warned that the required changes in approach, culture and actions “need to be monitored in a more directed manner by leaders and

    13.42 May. 25th, 2018 | News

  • Hull College Group to shed over 200 staff

    Hull College Group is preparing to shed up to 231 full-time jobs in an effort to balance its books. In a statement that appeared online yesterday, chief executive Michelle Swithenbank warned that “some difficult decisions have to be made” to regain stability amid longstanding financial troubles. The FE commissioner reported in February last year that

    10.03 Mar. 6th, 2018 | News

  • FE Commissioner: “Structural change” could follow £1.4m emergency cash injection

    The FE Commissioner has warned a college may need “structural change” after it was given £1.4 million in emergency cash. A report published today revealed Kirklees College in Yorkshire was issued with a notice of concern on September 28 following a request for exceptional financial support from the Education and Skills Funding Agency. Kirklees College

    17.25 Mar. 1st, 2018 | News