Tag Further Education


The ultimate transparency for college group structures

An article in the TES FE reveals that the Education Funding Agency (EFA) will now allow each NCG Division to submit separate data returns via separate UK Learning Provider Reference Numbers (UKPRNs) for EFA-funded provision from 2016-17 onwards.

Our CEO, Joe Docherty, expresses his views on the much-anticipated change:

“This provides the ultimate transparency for group structures, but for me it is about more than just transparency. The counterpart to transparency is accountability, and by collecting and publishing data at division (or college) level, and with Ofsted committed to moving to inspections at that level, as CEO I can devolve more responsibility to college principals in the knowledge NCG itself will not itself be inspected.

This is allowing us to move away from a command and control model, with faster responsiveness, better performance and the improved culture which follows.”

Joe Docherty, CEO of NCG.

Read the full story from TES FE here.

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Newcastle College secure Educate North award

Following on from their success in 2015, Newcastle College has again won big at the Educate North awards. Having won best Further Education provider at last year’s inaugural event in Manchester, the college this time scooped the Further Education Student Experience Award for the great work done by their Learner Support Service team.

Newcastle College beat off competition from three other FE providers to secure the prize, which recognized the College for a number of initiatives designed to help improve the student experience. These included specialist classes to ensure mainstream education is more accessible and planned transitional work – including transition from school and exit transitions into higher education or employment. Newcastle College also offers assistive technology providing bespoke solutions to enable learners to access education. Another key focus for the Learner Support Service is their Autism Team, who currently work with 180 learners, and this year saw the launch of the new ‘Autism Academy’, designed to provide a vital bespoke life skills programme whilst still keeping students within a mainstream environment. The prize also happened to be Learner Support Service’s second Educate North triumph in a row, having won the Access Award in 2015 for their work breaking down barriers to learning.

Tamara Stephenson, head of Learning Support Service, was at the event to collect the award and stated “I am incredibly privileged to work alongside staff who put the student experience at the heart of what they do day in day out, the LSS team absolutely deserve this and I feel very proud.”

Newcastle College supports over 1200 learners with disabilities, striving to help every learner unlock their potential and achieve what others may have thought impossible. That number also makes it one of the largest mainstream FE Colleges providing access to disabled learners.


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Carlisle College announces proposal to join NCG

Carlisle College today announced it proposes to join NCG, one of the largest further education and training groups in the country, to strengthen and further develop its provision and meet the needs of the local community.

Carlisle College Chair of Governors, David Carter said ‘We were very clear about what we were looking for. When we approached NCG, we discovered they absolutely share our vision of providing the best possible education and training for Carlisle and the surrounding area and we are delighted to be moving into detailed discussions about the future.”

NCG, which has a nationwide network of colleges and training organisations, will support the continued development of provision in and around Carlisle. This will ensure the greatest security for staff and students and ongoing investment in Carlisle College at a time when small colleges are facing challenges in a difficult funding environment.

Chief Executive of NCG, Joe Docherty, said: “We are delighted that Carlisle College wants to join NCG. We share their focus on providing what employers and students in Carlisle need to develop skills for their local economy, and we are pleased to be able to back that with the expertise and capacity of a major national group.”

The move will ensure the Carlisle College brand remains and is strengthened. The college will retain its local identity and a high degree of autonomy whilst benefiting from the support, expertise, investment and resources of the group.

Carlisle College Principal, Moira Tattersall said “This is a really exciting time for the college and for Carlisle. NCG has a fantastic reputation for innovation and professionalism, and becoming part of the group will enhance Carlisle College’s ability to respond to new skills needs in the area.

“The College will continue to do all the things it is known for and will have the resources and stability to develop new opportunities and address the needs and priorities that we cannot tackle alone. There is an opportunity to learn from NCG’s Aviation Training Centre at Newcastle Airport and their Rail Academy and see how this can help develop the Colleges offer in Carlisle.”

Carlisle College has a long-established tradition of collaborative and partnership working with the other Cumbrian Colleges and the University of Cumbria. The merger with NCG would fully support this approach with Carlisle College continuing to work with local partners on the achievement of the priorities set out in the Cumbria LEP’s Skills Investment Plan.

Carlisle College and NCG has now moved to detailed negotiations and will publish a formal public consultation document with a view to concluding the merger in time for the start of the new academic year this September. The consultation on this plan will coincide with the Government’s Area Based Review of Cumbrian Colleges. The proposals to join NCG will dovetail with that process and take account of any feedback that emerges as a result.

Public consultation is an essential part of the approval process so it is important that everyone in the community has the opportunity to put forward their views and take part.

You can give your views in one of four ways:

Responses should be made no later than 12 noon on Monday, 25 April 2016.

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Kidderminster College wins top award

A Kidderminster College administration apprentice, Kathleen Sandford, from The Community Housing Group (TCHG) in Kidderminster, seized the top award at the National Apprenticeship Service Awards, held in London.

To qualify for the award, she had to win the West Midlands regional award in November 2015 and then beat 11 other regional finalists to achieve National Intermediate Apprentice of the Year.

In addition, for the third year running, TCHG has been recognised as one of the UK’s Top 100 Apprenticeship Employers.  The list is compiled annually by the National Apprenticeship Service and recognises excellence in businesses that employ apprentices.

It’s been an outstanding two weeks for Kathleen who attended a celebration event at 10 Downing Street with Prime Minister, David Cameron, to recognise the value of apprenticeships.

Kathleen commented: “I decided to go down the apprenticeship route because I wanted to start a career where I could learn on the job.  I never thought that eventually it would lead to me winning a national award and visiting No.10.  I feel very fortunate to have had such an opportunity.”

Marina Banner, Executive Director of Vestia Community Trust and TCHG Corporate Services, commented: “We are extremely proud of Kathleen’s achievement. She is an inspiration to our existing apprentices and we hope this will encourage other young people to consider apprenticeships for their future career path.   We really value apprenticeships.  Apprentices bring  ideas, enthusiasm and determination and we believe that they make a positive contribution towards the future growth and development of our organisation”

Jennie Short, Head of Department at Kidderminster College said ‘We were absolutely delighted to hear of Kathleen’s success at the National Apprenticeship Awards. It is fantastic that a Kidderminster College apprentice has been recognised nationally for their talent and commitment, along with the significant contribution that they have made to their workplace. It just goes to show where an Apprenticeship can take you and the opportunities it can open up, alongside proof that apprentices really can make a difference to business.’

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Newcastle College crowned best FE College at national education awards

Newcastle College was last night crowned FE College of the Year at the first Educate the North Awards.

The high profile awards celebrate and recognise excellence in the education sector in the North.

The College beat off stiff competition to pick up the prestigious award, which recognised its outstanding work with employers, the community and in tackling unemployment. It also won the Access Award for the work its Learning Support Team does to break down barriers to learning and was the only college shortlisted in this category.

The awards, launched earlier this year, are the first of its kind and focus on a growing sector which is critical to the economic and cultural health and future of not only the Northern economy, but the UK generally.

Newcastle College Principal, Carole Kitching accepted the awards on behalf of the college at a special ceremony in Manchester last night. She said:

“These accolades are a huge thank you to the hard work undertaken by all of our staff and students over the last few years. To be recognised as the top FE college is a huge honour and testament to the outstanding student experience that we can offer at Newcastle College. I am completely overwhelmed by this achievement and am so proud of everyone at the college who has contributed to our success.”

Newcastle College is one of the country’s leading providers of FE and HE. The college has around 18,000 students studying a wide range of courses from foundation level to Masters Degree. It is one of a few colleges nationwide able to enrol students on a full time basis from 14 years old. It was also one of the first to be able to develop and validate its own foundation degrees.

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