They can assist lower-income students but are adult learning grants enough?

When Erica Hurer-Mackay enrolled on a higher education access course at Bedford College last September, she was advised to apply for an adult learning grant (ALG), that would entitle her to £30 a week. As a single parent with three children under 16 (pictured, right), she was eligible, and found it covered her travel costs and meant she needn't work. "Thirty pounds can make a difference if you're on a budget," she says.

Sue Dutton: Our four million students should be thrown into the dragons' den

Colleges are dragons' dens. This is not a slur on the students or staff, or a reference to the canteen curry; I'm referring, of course, to the collegiate spirit of enterprise and the TV show.

Education Quandary: 'Why do you have to have a qualification to teach adults?

'Why do you have to have a qualification to teach adults? Won't this simply deter people from sharing their skills?'

Real homework for brickies-to-be

Students are literally building for their future in one pioneering college project

New year, new challenge: Add another string to your bow

From rock'n'roll to calligraphy, it's time to enrol on a course that will fire you up for 2008, says Nick Jackson

Training vouchers were expected to sell well this Christmas, but so far interest is low

It may not be top of everyone's Christmas wish-list, but this year, for the first time, some people will receive a present with a difference training.

Sports courses: The fast track to the top

Olympic gold medallist Marlon Devonish tells Kate Hilpern how Henley College, Coventry, gave him his head start in athletics

What will colleges of the future look like?

State-of-the-art buildings, flexible study and virtual learning modules will liberate FE students, says Kate Hilpern

John Bingham: Education may be evolving every day but we still need the human touch

About 15 or 20 years ago, I remember a key person from the education sector talking confidently about how students in further education would, in the end, no longer go into colleges to be taught face-to-face but learn via technology using modems at home. All learning, he said, would be online. We now know this isn't the reality and is never likely to be because there is no substitute for human interface. Technology complements teaching – it doesn't replace it.

Quirky courses: Bangers and cash

Local businesses – from butchers to Pilates instructors – are inspiring a raft of new programmes

A-Z of courses: boat building

What is it?

Equal opportunities: Raising expectations

Practical and financial help is increasingly available for students who need extra support, says Ellie Levenson

Teachers from industry: Voices of experience

Nothing beats industry know-how for teaching vocational skills. Virginia Matthews meets the experts

Sue Dutton: Building new models in further education

Around the corner from a cheese shop in London's Covent Garden, some bright spark has scribbled a quote by the American philosopher and designer Buckminster Fuller: "You never change things by fighting existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete."

Further education: Going greener

You might not see Al Gore hanging out on campus, but FE is teaching many inconvenient truths
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