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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Further education (often abbreviated "FE", called continuing education in U.S. English) is a term mainly used in connection with education in the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland. It is post-compulsory education (in addition to that received at secondary school), that is distinct from the education offered in universities (higher education). It may be at any level above compulsory education, from basic training to Higher National Diploma or Foundation Degree.

A distinction is usually made between FE and higher education ("HE") which is education at a higher level than secondary school, usually provided in distinct institutions such as universities. FE in the United Kingdom therefore includes education for people over 16, usually excluding universities. It is primarily taught in FE colleges (which are similar in concept to United States community colleges, and sometimes use "community college" in their title), work-based learning, and adult and community learning institutions. This includes post-16 courses similar to those taught at schools and sub-degree courses similar to those taught at higher education (HE) colleges (which also teach degree-level courses) and at some universities.

Contents

Further education by country

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United Kingdom

England

Since 2001, FE in England has been managed by the Learning and Skills Council (LSC), the largest government agency funding education provision. The LSC has a budget of some £13 billion and is organised on a regional basis through around 47 local councils. The LSC has a particular mission to improve and expand further education provision, driven by the UK government's desire to increase standards in post-16 student retention and achievement, particularly in skills-based vocational provision in FE colleges. Recent government-driven LSC and Department for Education and Skills (DfES) policies, such as Success for All and the Skills Strategy, articulate this vision.

The Learning and Skills Improvement Service (LSIS - formerly the Quality Improvement Agency and Centre for Excellence in Leadership) provides strategic and policy support, while the Learning and Skills Network offers training and consultancy.

Colleges in England that are regarded as part of the FE sector include:

  • General FE and tertiary colleges
  • Sixth form colleges
  • Specialist colleges (mainly colleges of agriculture and horticulture and colleges of drama and dance)
  • Adult education institutes

From September 2007, teachers working in FE in England are required to gain professional status, known as Qualified Teacher Learning and Skills (QTLS). The first stage of QTLS is an initial 'passport to teaching' module. The second stage is full teacher training, which would typically take up to five years to complete. The qualification covers both taught and practical skills, and also requires teachers to undertake 30 hours of continuous professional development per year. Good quality teaching is indicated by the award of the Training Quality Standard an initiative to improve the quality of provision for vocational education, while all colleges and FE providers are subject to regular inspections by Ofsted. Lifelong Learning UK is the independent sector skills council responsible for the qualifications and standards for teachers working in FE. The trade unions for FE staff are the University and College Union and the Association of Teachers and Lecturers.

In England, further education is often seen as forming one part of a wider learning and skills sector, alongside workplace education, prison education, and other types of non-school, non-university education and training. Since June 2009, the sector is overseen by the new Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, although some parts (such as education and training for 14-19 year olds) fall within the Department for Children, Schools and Families.

Northern Ireland

Further education in Northern Ireland is provided through six multi-campus colleges[1]. Northern Ireland's Department for Employment and Learning has the responsibility for providing FE in the province.

Most secondary schools also provide a Sixth Form scheme whereby a student can choose to attend said school for 2 additional years to complete their AS and A-levels.

Scotland

Scotland's further education colleges provide education for those young people who follow a vocational route after the end of compulsory education at age 16. They offer a wide range of vocational qualifications to young people and older adults, including SVQs, Higher National Certificates and Higher National Diplomas. Frequently, the first two years of higher education, usually in the form of an HND can be taken in an FE college, followed by attendance at university.

Wales

Further education in Wales is provided through:

Further education in Wales comes under the remit of the Welsh Assembly Government and was formerly funded by ELWa before its merger with the Assembly.

Qualifications
High school sixth form
  • Year 12 or lower sixth, age 16 to 17 (AS-level examinations)
  • Year 13 or upper sixth, age 17 to 18 (A2-level examinations. Both AS-levels and A2-levels count towards 'A'-levels.)
FE colleges in Wales

Republic of Ireland

Ireland has further education colleges.

See also

External links


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