Leader magazineASCL - Association of School and College Leaders

Further Education and Training Act 2007

In the midst of the debate around raising the participation age to 18 and the run up to the Queen's Speech, it was easy to miss the Further Education and Training Act 2007 which, without fanfare, received its royal assent at the beginning of November.

Although the Education and Skills Bill may eventually have a far greater impact, it is important not lose sight of this 2007 act as it contains some significant changes.

The act formalises changes made to the organisation of the LSC, including the abolition of local councils and the establishment of regional councils.

The establishment of the London Skills and Employment Board (LSEB) last year provides a foretaste of how this reform may look. It is generally accepted that what the LSEB does today, most city regions will introduce tomorrow.

At the moment, the board can decide strategy for the LSC's 560m adult skills budget for London and appears to be moving towards an integrated planning and development strategy that will include the DWP's welfare to work budget and the young people's budget for London.

If this model is seen to work, we may well have a foretaste of how the LSC or its successor body will operate in future.

The act also grants FE institutions in England the power to award foundation degrees, recognising the considerable contribution FE currently makes to HE achievement.

However, in order to meet concerns on compromising quality, preventing progression and harming collaboration between FE and HE providers, the act contains some conditions.

QAA will advise on whether FE colleges have met the requirements to gain the right to award foundation degrees and institutions have to identify progression opportunities in advance. Powers will be granted for a period of six years' probation, during which only students enrolled at the institution may achieve the award.

Another part of the act introduces legal requirements for the training of principals and further details on timescales for these are due to follow.

For full details of the Education and Training Act 2007, including increased powers for the LSC to intervene in the proceedings of or dissolve FE governing bodies and details on industrial levies, see www.opsi.gov.uk/acts/acts2007a.htm

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