This week, staff and students at London South East Colleges welcomed the Permanent Secretary for the Department for Education (DfE), Mr Jonathan Slater, to its Bromley Campus.
His visit formed part of the Department’s Further Education (FE) Immersion Project which aims to send senior figures into Colleges around the UK on ‘fact-finding’ missions in order to form future Government education policy in the sector.
Jonathan Slater became the Permanent Secretary for the DfE back in May 2016. He has been a civil servant since 2001 and has also held senior roles as a local authority Deputy Chief Executive and Director of Education in the past.
Mr Slater was given a series of presentations by the College’s senior leaders before taking a tour of its industry-standard facilities.
Welcoming Mr Slater to the College, Principal Sam Parrett told him about the new London South East Education Group, its Academy Trust, Apprenticeship Company, University Centre, Nido Volans (SEND) Centres and its four college campuses in Bromley, Bexley, Greenwich and Orpington.
Mrs Parrett said: “Since our merger back in August 2016, we have achieved an amazing amount of success in bringing together three former FE colleges, forming an academy trust that incorporates five special schools in Bromley and Bexley, achieved success rates in vocational subjects above the national average, and made it easier for students to progress through school, into College and then into higher education or an apprenticeship.”
Throughout the morning, Mr Slater learned more about the College’s strong and dynamic learning environment, its impressive track record of strong financial performance, employer partnerships, and the relentless focus on students’ experience and outcomes.
After completing his tour of the campus, meeting and chatting to teachers and students using its modern workshops, studios, labs and IT resources, Mr Slater summed-up his day by saying: “It’s clear that this is an institution that has planned well in training its local community for the jobs of tomorrow as well as those of today. It has researched and responded very well to our ever-changing job markets.
“Needless to say, I am very impressed by everything I have seen and heard today. Before I arrived here, I had no idea that the College offered so many different areas of educational provision and meeting a wide range of needs. I can certainly understand now why my colleagues at the DfE recommended London South East Colleges as a place to visit as part of my research.”