Association of Colleges
Association of Colleges
Blog Post
  • Employability and technical or vocational skills are on the agenda to help support the nation's productivity. At the Association of Colleges, we are broadly supportive of the overall intention of the Skills Plan. Investing in and raising the profile of skills is welcome. Ensuring that key stakeholders; students, parents/carers and employers are aware of the best route to a specific occupation can ...

Association of Colleges
Association of Colleges
Blog Post
  • It wasn’t many years ago that talking about mental health issues was a taboo subject.  It was rarely discussed publicly and when it was there were always negative connotations.  Yet around one in four people in the UK will experience a mental health problem each year.  There has certainly been a shift over the last couple of years with more public figures speaking about the struggles they’ve faced...

Association of Colleges
Association of Colleges
Blog Post
  • Over the last year there has been a lot said about the introduction of T Levels.  Since the publication of the Sainsbury Review and the Post-16 Skills Plan the Association of Colleges (AoC) has been working with the Department of Education to get to grips with what they actually are and what they mean to students. Despite the rhetoric, there are still a lot of questions: Who are the T Levels for? ...

Association of Colleges
Association of Colleges
Blog Post
  • Colleges are transformational – they help people make the most of their talents and ambitions and drive social mobility; they help businesses improve productivity and drive economic growth; they are rooted in and committed to their communities and drive tolerance and well-being. They are an essential part of England’s education system. Despite these enormous contributions, public investment in col...

Association of Colleges
Association of Colleges
Blog Post
  • We’ve all seen negative marketing, the comparison adverts, the schools that put up league tables of GCSE results in order to attract students from a neighbouring competitor.  Indeed, some colleges even do this.  And there is research out there that says that a negative message stays in the mind longer than a positive message. However, there are also drawbacks.  The simple issue with negative marke...

Association of Colleges
Association of Colleges
Blog Post
  • Working in a college it is easy to get bogged down with the challenges of a tight funding regime, English and maths resits, mergers and curriculum reform.  But once again this year judging the AoC student of the year awards has reminded me why colleges are amazing places to study and work, providing opportunities for all. Where else would you find inspirational stories of people, young and old, fr...

Association of Colleges
Association of Colleges
Blog Post
  • The education of young people is important not only to individuals, but to this country as a whole. To be a prosperous UK, particularly in a post-Brexit world, we need to make sure that our future workforce are provided with the skills and knowledge needed for their future careers.  To do this effectively, we must ensure that our colleges and schools are provided with the right resources. Accordin...

Association of Colleges
Association of Colleges
Blog Post
  • You will have heard the saying ‘price is what you pay, value is what you get’.  Well, various reports have recently highlighted the fact that our students aged 16-19 get significantly less education and training than in other countries, and that colleges, schools and training providers receive significantly lower funding per head at a time when many of our competitor countries invest more, not les...

Association of Colleges
Association of Colleges
Blog Post
  • You’ve done the study, sat the exams and now it’s results day! Catherine Sezen from the Association of Colleges is on hand to help with some top tips on how to handle GCSE exam results day and the important decisions that follow: Confirm your place: You’ve received your results, make sure you contact the college or training provider where you want to study to confirm your place. Didn’t get the gra...

Association of Colleges
Association of Colleges
Blog Post
  • You’ve done the study, sat the exams and now it’s results day! Kim Clifford, from the Association of Colleges, is on hand with some top tips to help you make sense of your results and help you get one step closer to that bright future that is waiting for you. You have your results in hand - what next? Confirm your place:  You’ve received your results, now log onto UCAS track! If your firm offer ha...

Association of Colleges
Association of Colleges
Blog Post
  • You are probably younger than me, but it is possible you remember just how magical those ‘glitter globes’ were in our youth.  I didn’t even know they were called glitter globes until I looked them up on the internet, but they were transformational.  A mundane plastic scene, to a seven year old girl with a bit of imagination, was transformed with a bit of a shake into a winter wonderland full of po...

Association of Colleges
Association of Colleges
Blog Post
  • The publication of the last 15 area review reports, many months after the actual reviews finished, gives us all the chance to pause for (two) thoughts: what have they achieved and what needs to happen now? The experience of colleges participating in the reviews was varied, with some finding them constructive and helpful, whilst others viewed them as distracting and irrelevant. In most cases the ar...

Association of Colleges
Association of Colleges
Blog Post
  • Awards and competitions are a staple in every industry; they’re a celebration of talent, success and achievements, Association of Colleges Beacon and student awards are designed to do exactly that. AoC’s Annual Conference awards ceremony has been a platform to celebrate high achieving students and colleges and I look forward to see the winners at this year’s awards. AoC Beacon Awards are intended ...

Association of Colleges
Association of Colleges
Blog Post
  • Today is election day.  Up and down the country people will be going to polling stations and taking part in their democratic right to vote.  At the Association of Colleges, we have been encouraging students in colleges to register to vote so they can have their say in today.  I had the pleasure of meeting four first time voters at Barnsley College, and was interested in what they have thought of ...

Association of Colleges
Association of Colleges
Blog Post
  • We know that sport and physical activity can contribute to tackling some of the key issues outlined in all of the party manifestos, including challenges with mental and physical health, social cohesion and economic development. It would be naive for us to think that activity is the sole solution to these problems, but it is still disappointing to see that sport is barely acknowledged by the three ...

Association of Colleges
Association of Colleges
Blog Post
  • The Association of College’s (AoC’s) manifesto states that education is, and always will be, about growth, development and opportunity.  The next Government must support people to access education and training.  In the South West, and in many rural parts of England, one of the big issues is around transport. Students wanting to exercise choice and follow their preferred post-16 option face signifi...

Association of Colleges
Association of Colleges
Blog Post
  • As a professional interim I have worked across a range of organisations over the last seven years and it’s great to be back working in education, particularly at a time when we have a General Election which is focused on opportunities for the UK in a post-Brexit world. Of course the policy priorities and funding requirements for further education (FE) are always changing and initially I wondered h...

Association of Colleges
Association of Colleges
Blog Post
  • It’s now less than three weeks until the General Election which, according to the politicians and the media, could shape the country for a generation. So it’s important to make sure you can have your say.  A couple of years ago a new electoral system was brought in – ‘Individual Electoral Registration’. The system changes so each individual has to register to vote, rather than the previous ‘head o...

Association of Colleges
Association of Colleges
Blog Post
  • One of the best parts of my job is travelling around the country visiting colleges. I’ve been all over the world, but I’ve seen more of the UK in the last six months since joining AoC than in the last six years combined. My travels have been particularly enlightening in the wake of last June’s EU referendum vote. I live in Edinburgh and work in London, so spend a lot of time back and forth cross-c...

Association of Colleges
Association of Colleges
Blog Post
  • This year’s General Election will shape our country for a generation. Interestingly, being a nation self-sufficient in skills has already become a major political issue.  Two simple facts provide a stark background for this. The first is that further education students in England receive just 17 hours tuition a week compared to an average of 27 in school and 30 hours or more in most high performin...

Association of Colleges
Association of Colleges
Blog Post
  • There are so many ways to spend a bank holiday weekend – DIY, gardening, eating, drinking etc.  My Mayday weekend was spent with around 800 others in a conference centre in Ottawa.  While maybe not an obvious choice, the reason was to be part of the annual conference of Colleges and Institutes Canada, a sister organisation of the Association of Colleges (AoC). Despite being on the other side of th...

Association of Colleges
Association of Colleges
Blog Post
  • This summer's snap election‎ surprised everyone so it wouldn't be sensible for me to predict how it will end. The Prime Minister wants a clear mandate for her "plan for Britain". The leader of the Labour Party started the campaign with a challenge to the "rigged system". Education hasn't featured much in national politics in the last few months but there are plenty of reasons why this may change. ...

Association of Colleges
Association of Colleges
Blog Post
  • For those working in college governance, we know how important a role it is.  Sometimes though, it hasn’t always had the profile it deserves.  That seems to be changing.  If nothing else, Lord Nash, the Minister for Schools in the House of Lords, highlighted the importance of qualified governance professionals supporting college boards during a recent Parliament debate on the Technical and Further...

Association of Colleges
Association of Colleges
Blog Post
  • You don’t have to be a huge company in Silicon Valley to benefit from being enterprising. It isn’t about the risks and extensive budgets. Any organisation, in fact anyone, can be enterprising and there are a number of ways that you can encourage everyone in your college to be more enterprising to make change happen. Being enterprising is about improving the organisation, taking a new idea and impl...

Association of Colleges
Association of Colleges
Blog Post
  • For as long as I can remember, the Association of Colleges (AoC) Annual Conference has been run over three days, but this year will be different. We’re making a major change in response to strong feedback; this year’s conference will be two days rather than three. So, the same high-quality content in a more condensed package. There will be the same opportunities to network, hear about the latest d...

Association of Colleges
Association of Colleges
Blog Post
  • It’s easy to get caught up in the apprenticeship changes and forget to ask where it’s all heading. Even more challenging to spend time thinking about where we want them to take us and how we can influence the direction, but that’s what I aim to do here. The new levy, new system and the funding represent fundamental changes to what many of us have known for a long time. I remain positive about the ...

Association of Colleges
Association of Colleges
Blog Post
  • We have a Conservative Government elected on a 2015 manifesto promise to eliminate the budget deficit so it is no surprise that the spending measures in today's Budget are fully funded from more taxation or saving elsewhere.  After two downgrades to the official economic forecast in 2016 statements, the Office of Budget Responsibility report an upgrade this time. As predicted, the Chancellor plans...

Association of Colleges
Association of Colleges
Blog Post
  • Too often, many young people leave school unaware of all the choices there are when selecting the right route for their chosen career.  Apprenticeships, technical education and training, A Levels, university…the options available can be confusing and daunting for a 16-year-old ready to take the next steps towards their future job. The underlying problem is that there is inadequate careers advice a...

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