Our Response to Independent Commission on the College of the Future report

The Independent Commission on the College of the Future today (28 October) launched its report on the future of UK colleges. The 76-page report (which can be found here looks at what colleges want and need and how they can get there, and sets out a number of recommendations.

In a joint statement, CCCG Chief Executive Roy O’Shaughnessy and Chair Alastair Da Costa said: “This report sets out an exciting, bold and ambitious vision for further education colleges.

“It places colleges where they belong – at the heart of their communities, working with employers, Government, students and each other, to deliver the training and skills support that their communities need to succeed.

“Through our own initiatives, including our free courses for everyone up to Level 2, and our wide range of free online courses in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we, like many other colleges are already innovating and making it easier for economically-deprived people to learn.

“We stand ready to do much more, and look forward to working with other London educators, businesses, the GLA and out local authorities to turn this bold vision into reality.”

Summary of the recommendations in the report

  • A statutory right to lifelong learning, so that people can train, and retrain, throughout their lives. This must be backed-up by financial support (the report describes it as “grants and loans that allow college students to live well whilst studying”), so that someone’s background or economic circumstances don’t affect their life chances.
  • Radical, long-term education and skills reforms and investment is needed – to address current and future skills gaps and transform every adult’s life chances. Colleges educate 1.4 million adults every year and must be at the heart of these reforms.
  • Backing business, driving innovation and addressing skills gaps, by establishing a unique service for employers at their local colleges for training and upskilling future and current employees, including through sector-focused “employer hubs”.
  • Overhaul, rebalance and integrate the whole post-16 education and skills system in each nation with a 10-year strategy for how colleges will work with schools, universities and all other education and training providers, to deliver what each nation’s economy and society needs, redressing funding inequity where it exists.

Our response to Government’s free courses plan in FE Week

Kurt Hintz, Interim Executive Principal at Capital City College Group, has responded to the Government’s new proposals to offer free Level 3 courses to adults in this week’s FE Week.

CCCG already offers free courses up to Level 2 and free short courses up to Level 3 across all its colleges – City and Islington College, Westminster Kingsway College and the College of Haringey, Enfield and North East London.

Kurt explains how he had previously recognised the main barrier to adult education was cost, which led to the start of free courses at CONEL and the impact this had on enrolments.

He adds that further introduction of free short courses at CONEL became another driver for mainstream courses, and how the college’s success led to free courses being extended across CCCG.

Kurt also emphasises why the extra Government funding for the Level 3 courses is needed urgently and why the money should be devolved to local education budgets.

Click here to read the full article.

International accounting firm Mazars backs CCCG’s #Laptops4Learners campaign

Big-hearted staff at international accounting and advisory firm Mazars have been raising money for laptops to help London’s most disadvantaged students get online during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The company has pledged its support to Laptops4Learners, a campaign run by Capital City College Group (CCCG), and saw staff join in various online activities as part of its Back to School fundraiser.

CCCG is the capital’s largest college group and comprises City and Islington College, Westminster Kingsway College, the College of Haringey, Enfield and North East London and apprenticeship provider Capital City College Training.

Laptops4Learners is asking businesses and the community to donate laptops and raise funds to help students study online with many lessons having to be taught remotely.

Students have had to access online lessons and complete assignments at home during lockdown, with courses still requiring some remote learning this academic year. Many come from the bottom three bands of social deprivation with some having to watch lessons and do coursework on their mobile phones, while others have no technology at all.

WestKing student Jada Murray-Hutchison, 17, from Enfield, who received money for a laptop earlier this year, said: “I had to do presentations on my phone because I didn’t have a computer, and it was really hard and overwhelming as well.

“Now that I have a laptop, I’m able to research and complete all my assignments. It’s really made a difference.”

The Back to School fundraiser aimed to raise funds for schools and colleges who need extra help supporting disadvantaged pupils and students during the pandemic. The event ran from 12-16 October and saw staff host and participate in a wide range of activities such as baking, juggling, drawing, forensics and exercise classes

Harriet Walker, Sustainability Executive at Mazars, said: “It’s been great fun taking part in the Back to School fundraiser, learning how to juggle, draw and gaining an insight into the world of forensic investigations, all for a worthwhile cause.”

CCCG has already invested heavily in laptops and wi-fi equipment for students with the support of some Government funding but more money is needed.

Roy O’Shaughnessy, CEO of CCCG, said: “Throughout lockdown we provided laptops to students, and even though we have moved to classroom learning wherever possible this academic year there will still be a strong element of remote learning and a need for more laptops.

“This is a really big challenge for us, and we are delighted that Mazars has given its support to our Laptops4Learners campaign to help our students get online to complete their studies and get the digital skills they need for the modern workplace.”

Click here to find out more about Laptops4Learners and make a donation.