Headlines: April 10th, 2006

The Quality Improvement Agency for Lifelong Learning has been created to regulate Further Education. The Agency was set up in response to severe criticism in the recent report on Further Education by Sir Andrew Foster, which exposed the lack of clarity and coherence in the regulation of the sector. The report called for a simpler, more coherent approach to quality improvement.The Agency will provide advice and support services to help colleges and providers to offer high quality education and training programmes. It will also work with a range of organisations to develop a new national Quality Improvement Strategy for FE that will support better teaching and learning and develop a professional, expert workforce for the sector. Performance information will be published to drive improvement and help learners and employers make well-informed choices. A principal task will be to help in pushing through the changes needed to support all institutions to move towards the vision of excellence. The Agency has the power to intervene to tackle poor quality.

The Department for Education and Skills will withdraw from commissioning quality improvement and the Agency will be the single commissioner of all quality improvement products, programmes and services in the learning and skills sector. The Learning and Skills Council will focus on quality assurance work.