Sink or swim

Dick Evans fears that FE could become a lost continent drowned by competition. One of the inevitable consequences of subjecting education and training to an open and free market is to create a competitive climate, which becomes counter productive. If the market approach is operated in an extreme form, as it is sadly now, with uncontrolled deregulation, the resultant cut-throat competition between the institutions and sectors will fail to rectify many of the problems confronting education and training in this country. Couple this with the absence of any long-term strategic framework for education and training, and the consequences are indeed

Cutting Remarks

The long-term should be taken into account before singing the praises of downsizing, writes Richard Evans. Recent articles in the education Press indicate that 1996 is to be the year for cuts in staffing in the Further Education sector following the issuing of 188 notices. Announcements in last year’s budget will sadly mean that schools and universities will also be making staff redundant. Following on from the previous two years, Further Education is again being subjected to totally unacceptable levels of cuts, dressed up by the Government and the funding councils as necessary and attainable efficiency gains. The FE sector is

A Fair Approach to Recruitment.

College recruitment should take into account the needs of students, not just the colleges’ own reputation, writes Richard Evans. Recent coverage, both in the tabloid and broad sheet Press has highlighted the current concerns about the ethics and morality of some of the techniques being introduced by a few colleges in recruiting students. Massive amounts of money relative to the overall college budget are now being spent in some colleges on publicity and incentives for prospective students. These incentives take the form either of financial or other inviting bounties. These activities most certainly raise serious and fundamental questions about the

Give Us a Chance

The Press should look at the facts behind the pilot General National Vocational Qualifications (GNVQs) before judging them, says Richard Evans. Yet again, the GNVQ awards are under the microscope. Almost daily the Press report in their usual sensationalizing fashion the growing pains of this important qualification with little attempt to provide a careful analysis of the background and context of the developments with the award. The importance of GNVQs surely merits a sensitive and well-informed analysis of the purpose of the qualifications by the tabloid and broadsheet Press; they owe it to the students, prospective students, parents and the

The Sigmoid Curve.

Richard Evans applies tool to colleges. Reading Charles Handy’s excellent book ‘The Empty Raincoat’, I reflected on the application of the Sigmoid curve for college managers (see below) The symbol is a powerful one, and as Handy states, it possesses almost infinite universality of application. Obviously one can imagine a single curve which can represent the institution’s life and a particular point can denote its current health, but practically each element within the institution can be mapped to its contours. Other curves could locate the general effectiveness of, say, an indi-vidual member of staff or a group of staff in

FE: Further Thoughts.

Colleges’ priorities are not what they used to be. Richard Evans finds his unhappy predictions for the sector have come true. I have previously written about some of my views and concerns about the future of the FE sector. It gives me little satisfaction that many of the potential problems and concerns identified are now all too evident. One issue that merits investigation is the analysis of the cost of all the increased marketing, publicity and incentives that have been introduced since incorporation and the number of new students from previously nonparticipating groups that have been recruited into the sector.

Mission Possible

The positive attitudes and emotions of staff are vital to the success of FE organisational statements, writes Richard Evans Organizational statements, often grandiosely called missions and visions, abound these days. Colleges are no exception to this trend. Each wants to broadcast its purpose to potential students and employers by way of a snappy, eye-catching statement or ‘artefact’. By an artefact I mean something expressed in words and made public, or indeed accountable. However, we need to reflect on what these artefacts really mean to the staff, students and all the other users of the organization. The trouble with such statements is

Further Vision

About this time last year 1 wrote an article for this journal entitled ‘Thoughts on the new Further Education (FE) sector’. A year after incorporation, has the Cinderella educational sector arrived at the ball? Its first year has been full of both challenges and opportunities, but it has been exposed to a political, financial and economic climate which has, to say the least, been contradictory and paradoxical. Many colleges had excellent relationships with their LEAs, while others did not. These variations inevitably caused problems with transitional funding arrangements. However, many colleges now realize how cost-effective and economical some LEA services