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Developing a mission for further education: changing culture using non-financial and intangible valueIn his keynote lecture at the Reimagining Further Education conference in Birmingham in June 2016, Sir Frank McLoughlin was clear that the sector ‘needed a mission’ to unite around, and to let people know where it is going’ (McLoughlin 2016). This was endorsed by the attendees, who felt that it would enable the sector to regain ownership of what it stands for nationally, regionally, and locally. Such a vision is needed to create a TVET (Technical and Vocational Education and Training) sector that is targeted to develop an effective shared culture in the further education sector, close skills shortages and skills gaps in education, enhance community cohesion and improve productivity. This vision needs to have a robust measure of impact that aligns with the vision. One possibility is to explore a non-financial and intangible value metric where social value is aligned to the sector mission. A robust measure will enable key stakeholders to agree on areas of focus in a specific geographical location or a specific time. Such a measure might challenge the need for the existence of regulatory bodies such as Ofsted in the way they operate now. With such a robust measure of social value/impact, Government will not need to issue a white paper every time a response to a localised issue is required. We suggest that the Social Earnings Ratio (S/E or SERatio) is such a robust measure. For example, if the need in a certain locality is to address skills gaps/shortages or to focus on community cohesion, all that is needed is a change in the weighting of the various components of such a measure. This will allow development of a Further Education mission which can be utilised nationally, regionally and locally. In this article we develop this idea and provide an illustration of how the SERatio could be applied to an FE college. The example we use is that of a small FE college with an annual budget of £12m. We demonstrate, using SERatio, that this college produces an intangible value of approximately £40m per annum. Such an approach will enable Further Education to become the strong owner of its mission and vision in the future, and allow it to develop its own culture and expertise to the maximum of its potential.
Open Futures: an enquiry- and skills- based educational programme developed for primary education and its use in tertiary educationOpen Futures is a transforming enquiry-based and skills-based system for education that is central to the curriculum, linking learning and life. It was developed to help children discover and develop practical skills, personal interests and values, which will contribute to their education and help to enhance their adult lives. Open Futures works in partnership with groups of schools in local clusters to develop a bespoke training programme, which extends the existing curriculum and nurtures independent learning through pupil-led approaches to personal learning. Schools benefit from the experience, knowledge and support of like-minded education professionals locally, nationally and internationally. Working with schools and their communities in the UK and India, Open Futures has been running with widespread success for 9 years. It now reaches more than 30,000 children in the UK. There is a body of independent evidence from primary and secondary education showing that both individual strands, as well as the complete Open Futures programme, significantly improve learner outcomes. We now wished to move Open Futures into the tertiary education sector. It was felt that an Open Futures approach to learning and teaching, particularly involving askit, would be beneficial to the community of learners at Central Bedfordshire Further Education College, rated Grade 2 by Ofsted in October 2013. Training has been in three areas so far: Construction, Public Services and Pathways (i.e. Learners with learning difficulties and disabilities). In all cases, there were significant positive impacts for learners and for teachers. As experience with Open Futures develops in the College, it should become clear how such a central enquiry-based and skills-based approach will help learners, and provide evidence for the use of Open Futures in tertiary education that could be used in other tertiary educational institutions.