• 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currently have access to the restructuring facility and exceptional financial support (EFS), but these will each be withdrawn later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

  • Atkins' aides: Principals appointed to advise DfE

    A crack team of seven top principals has been chosen by the FE commissioner to advise government officials on skills policy, FE Week can reveal. The seven, who make up Richard Atkins’ principals’ reference group, will be used as a sounding board for officials on topics including the development of T-levels. Speaking exclusively to FE

    10.11 Jan. 12th, 2018 | News

  • Skills minister personally delays controversial Kensington college merger

    A controversial merger between two London colleges has been delayed after an intervention from the skills minister and the FE commissioner, motivated by the ongoing fallout from the Grenfell Tower tragedy. The final vote by Kensington and Chelsea College board of governors either to accept or reject a merger with Ealing, Hammersmith and West London

    9.41 Dec. 19th, 2017 | News

  • Commissioner concerned over ‘strain’ on leaders running two colleges

    Concerns about the “strain” on a leadership team running two colleges simultaneously – one of which is deeply troubled – have been raised by the FE Commissioner, in one of three reports. Richard Atkins and his team visited Huntingdonshire Regional College in January, following an inadequate Ofsted grade in October – with the report now

    11.00 May. 2nd, 2017 | News