Welcome to the March 2015 edition of our Community of Practitioner's Bulletin - your link to what's been happening in Teacher Education in the lifelong learning education sector in the last month.

This month a consultation on the vocational education system has opened, a Further Education Reform update has been published, nine new degree apprenticeships have been announced together with a further 35 Trailblazer apprenticeships. Lists of technical and vocational qualifications approved for teaching from September 2015 and Departmental advice on study programmes and work experience for 16-19 year olds, a post-16 course database and the funding rates for 2015-16 have been published. Cyber security programmes and resources are now available and 2 new UTCs announced to specialise in this area.

Ofqual has announced proposals for a new Qualifications and Credit Framework. However, in the meantime, it has published revised rules and regulations for all qualifications which are part of the QCF. It has also published requirements and guidance for GCE A and AS and GCSEs.

It is a month of evaluation and guidance reports. Evaluations of how FE is meeting the BIS plan for skills, college governance, the FE Intervention process, apprenticeship reforms, the Trailblazer programme, traineeships and the Employer Ownership of Skills pilot and apprenticeship pay have all been published. Guidance and information have been published on careers guidance for colleges, advice on HE courses for alternative providers, guidance for Trailblazers and information on Traineeships. Guidance on DBS, Safeguarding and SEND has also been announced.

We'd welcome your views and any recommendations you have on articles, books or useful websites you've discovered so email us at: wmcop@warwick.ac.uk and share your ideas.

See below for:

News from the Profession


Discussion documents


Government News

(Department for Business, Innovation and Skills)

Consultation on the vocational education system: A consultation 'A dual mandate for Adult Vocational Education' has been launched asking for views on the main challenges that face adult further education over the next decade. This document considers the: role of higher vocational education; importance of helping individuals to gain the fundamental skills required for work and life; implications of these and wider government changes on adult further education colleges. The consultation is open until 16 June and further details are at: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/adult-vocational-education-challenges-over-the-next-decade

Careers Guidance for Colleges: A document 'Careers Guidance and Inspiration' has been published as a guide for further education colleges and sixth-form colleges on how to provide independent careers guidance. It can be read at: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/417149/Careers_Guidance_College_Guidance_March_2015.pdf

Further Education Reform Update March 2015: Nick Boles, Minister for Skills and Equalities, wrote to all colleges on 9 March 2015 updating them on the further education (FE) reform programme ‘Rigour and responsiveness in skills’. The report can be read at: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/409895/bis-15-159-Implementing-rigour-and-responsiveness.pdf

Alternative higher education providers: specific course designation - guidance for applicants: Guidance on the new specific course designation process, the criteria and conditions and the new application process for higher education can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/alternative-providers-specific-course-designation-guidance-for-applicants

Recognised UK degrees: Information about UK higher education degrees and recognised awarding bodies has been published at: https://www.gov.uk/recognised-uk-degrees

Professional and Business services Strategy: The Government and industry, and in particular the Professional and Business Services Council, are working together to implement a new strategy 'Growth is our Business: a strategy for professional and business services'. It covers the areas of accountancy, advertising, architecture, engineering consultancy, legal services, management consultancy and human resources. It can be read at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/growth-is-our-business-professional-and-business-services-strategy

Organisational improvement in colleges: FE commissioner letter: Further education Commissioner, Dr David Collins CBE, shares his thoughts on financial and organisational management in colleges at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/organisational-improvement-in-colleges-fe-commissioner-letter

Nine new Degree Apprenticeships: 9 new degree apprenticeships will be available from September 2015. The new degrees are in: Chartered Surveying, Electronic Systems Engineering, Aerospace Engineering, Aerospace Software Development, Defence Systems Engineering, Laboratory Science, Nuclear, Power Systems and
Public Relations. Further details are at: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-rolls-out-flagship-degree-apprenticeships

New Trailblazers programmes: The 26 new trailblazers are to design apprenticeships in 35 occupations while existing Trailblazers have been approved to design a further 34 apprenticeships. The Government's announcement of 56 newly approved standards and 69 more in development takes the number of approved standards to over 120 and number of standards in development to over 150. Further details and links to the apprentice website at: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/employers-unveil-new-industry-designed-apprenticeships

Future of apprenticeships in England: guidance for trailblazers: Explains how to develop new apprenticeships in England, from bidding to develop a standard to preparing for the standard to be used. Further details at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/future-of-apprenticeships-in-england-guidance-for-trailblazers

Traineeships: Information for employers and education providers: Documents about traineeships, who they are for, what they provide, and their funding for 2015-2016 have been published at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/supporting-young-people-to-develop-the-skills-for-apprenticeships-and-sustainable-employment-framework-for-delivery 

Adult skills project to help mental health: The Skills Funding Agency has notified 62 Community learning providers they will receive a contract to pilot adult education courses to help adults recover from mild to moderate mental health problems. Further information at: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/vince-cable-announces-successful-partners-delivering-20m-adult-skills-project-to-help-mental-health

Calculating the minimum wage: Guidance on calculating the minimum wage, to help employers meet national minimum wage legislation has been published at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/calculating-the-minimum-wage

24+ advanced learning loans: Information on applications for 24+ Advanced Learning Loans for March 2015 can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/24-advanced-learning-loans-application-information-march-2015

Cyber security: programmes and resources for schools and further education: A guide for teachers describing a variety of cyber security programmes, learning resources and activities for schools and further education can be found at: A guide for teachers describing a variety of cyber security programmes, learning resources and activities for schools and further education.

Further Education Colleges: governance reform assessment: A short report assessing the impact to date of the changing status of governance, and what colleges, BIS and partners might do to improve governance in future can be read at: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/408178/bis-15-136-an-assessment-of-the-impact-of-governance-reform-in-further-education-colleges-a-review-of-expectations.pdf

An Evaluation of the Intervention Process in FE: A report evaluating the further education, commissioner-led intervention process has been published by BIS. It looks at how each stage of the intervention process works and how effective it is and identifies areas of improvement. It can be read at: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/416222/bis-15-261_Evaluation-of-the-further-education-commissioner-led-intervention-process.pdf

Further Education learner outcomes 2010-2011: Experimental data showing the learning and employment outcomes of learners completing further education training in 2010 to 2011 has been published, together with provider records. The information can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/adult-further-education-outcome-based-success-measures-experimental-data-2010-to-2011

BIS Performance indicators - Further Education: Input and impact indicators against the BIS plan for skills including: funding per course; number of learners participating in courses; international comparison of qualification levels; proportion of 18-24 year olds in full or part-time education or training; participation in employment of 18-24 year olds; level 2 or 3 achievements of over 19 year olds; access to the professions. Information is at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/bis-performance-indicators-skills

Apprenticeship reforms: progress report: The Government has published a short report which gives an update on apprenticeship reforms encouraging employers to employ an apprentice and consider working on the development of a new standard. It can be read at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/apprenticeship-reforms-progress-report

Evaluation of the Apprenticeship Trailblazers: Interim Report: This report looks at the apprenticeship trailblazers one year on from their launch and covers 16 trailblazers. It is positive on the engagement of employers and suggests risks regarding sustainability, assessment and structure. It makes interesting reading at: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/410370/bis-15-130-evaluation-of-the-apprenticeship-trailblazers-interim-report.pdf

Evaluation of the Employer Ownership of Skills Pilot: An evaluation of the 36 pilot projects for the employer ownership of skills project has been published. It covers the initial findings and its conclusions are interesting: diversity of models as both a strength for employers and issue for monitoring; the recruitment of learners only a third of that initially planned; use of in-kind contributions has been substantial but used rather than cash; most projects adapted or extended training though little innovation; increased collaborative working between businesses; sustainability an issue without public funding. The evaluation can be read at: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/412685/BIS-15-178-evaluation-of-the-employer-ownership-of-skills-pilot-round-1.pdf

Evaluation of Traineeships: An analysis of what employers and trainees think of the traineeships scheme, which launched in 2013, has been published. It also looks at how effective the scheme has been at helping former trainees into apprenticeships and work. The outcomes are very positive and can be read at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/traineeships-evaluation

Increase in the number of apprenticeships and traineeships: Provisional figures for the first half of the 2014 to 2015 academic year show significant growth in the number of people on an apprenticeship or traineeship compared to the same period last year. The figures are available in the Statistical First Release at: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/learner-participation-outcomes-and-level-of-highest-qualification-held

Apprenticeship Pay Survey 2014: A Report detailing apprentices’ pay, earnings and compliance with the national minimum wage, according to age, framework and level has been published. Further details at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/apprenticeship-pay-survey-2014

Prisoner Education: A short report on prisoner education, including programme budgets, has been published and can be read at: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/408425/bis-foi-2015-02823-prisoner-education.pdf

Skills development to be incorporated into Government infrastructure contracts: Bidders for major government infrastructure projects with a value over £50 million, will have to provide evidence of their commitment to developing skills from 1 April 2015. Further details at: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-secures-skills-boost-for-major-infrastructure-projects

National College for Nuclear (NCfN): Another of the new colleges is announced as the National College for Nuclear based in two hubs in Cumbria and Somerset. This joins the six colleges already announced. Further details can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/hancock-new-nuclear-college-will-equip-local-young-people-with-the-right-skills-for-the-job

Consultation of support for postgraduate study: A consultation on a proposed loan system for postgraduate taught master’s students has been launched. Under the scheme, anyone under 30 who is eligible and accepted to study will be able to apply for a loan of up to £10,000. The consultation closes on 29 May and details can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/postgraduate-study-student-loans-and-other-support

Women on Boards 2015: The fourth annual review tracking progress in increasing the number of women on FTSE 350 company boards, has been published. It can be read at: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/415454/bis-15-134-women-on-boards-2015-report.pdf

Whistleblowing: guidance and code of practice for employers: A guide to whistleblowing has been published which helps employers: understand the law relating to whistleblowing; put in place a whistleblowing policy; recognise the benefits whistleblowing can bring to an organisation. It can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/whistleblowing-guidance-and-code-of-practice-for-employers. The prescribed person's guidance can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/whistleblowing-guidance-for-prescribed-persons

National Minimum Wage: Government's response to the Low Pay Commission Report 2015: The Government accepts the recommendations in full which, from October 2015, are: from £6.50 to £6.70 for adults; from £5.13 to £5.30 for the development rate that covers workers aged 18 to 20 years old; from £3.79 to £3.87 for 16 to 17 year olds; the Government has concluded that the apprentice rate should be £3.30. Details at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/national-minimum-wage-response-to-the-low-pay-commissions-2015-report

(Department for Education)

Technical and vocational qualifications for 14- to 19-year-olds: Lists of technical and vocational qualifications approved for teaching from September 2015 and reporting in 2017 performance tables have been published. They include technical awards and certificates, tech levels and applied general qualifications. Further details are at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/technical-and-vocational-qualifications-for-14-to-19-year-olds

16 to 19 study programmes: work experience: Departmental advice for all post-16 education and training providers on post-16 work experience has been published and can be read at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/post-16-work-experience-as-a-part-of-16-to-19-study-programmes

16 to 19 study programmes: advice on planning and provision: Guidance summarising the considerations when planning and providing study programmes for 16-19 year olds has been published at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/16-to-19-study-programmes-advice-on-planning-and-delivery

English and maths: pupils achieving A* to C grades at age 16: Impact indicator showing the percentage of pupils achieving grade A* to C at GCSE in English and maths has been published at: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/408237/Impact_indicator_2.pdf. Achievement of the English Baccalaureate impact indicator is at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/pupils-achieving-the-english-baccalaureate-at-age-16

Two new University Technical Colleges to train young cyber security experts: SGS Berkeley Green University Technical College in Gloucestershire and the Guildford university technical college will train 14- to 19-year-olds in digital technologies, cyber security and advanced manufacturing. Further details at: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/gloucestershire-college-to-train-young-cyber-security-experts and https://www.gov.uk/government/news/surrey-college-to-train-young-cybersecurity-experts-announced

Updated Policy document: Increasing opportunities for young people and helping them to achieve their potential: This Policy document gives an update on the issues and actions set out in April 2013 and can be read at: https://www.gov.uk/government/policies/increasing-opportunities-for-young-people-and-helping-them-to-achieve-their-potential

Nicky Morgan addresses the ASCL (Association of School and College Leaders) conference: A speech which sets out the educational achievements and plan for schools can be read at: https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/everyone-has-an-opinion-on-education

Enrolment of 14- to 16-year-olds in full-time further education: Requirements and advice for institutions directly recruiting 14- to 16-year-olds including details of institutions delivering the programme can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/enrolment-of-14-to-16-year-olds-in-full-time-further-education

DBS Guide to Eligibility: Disclosure and Barring Service provides eligibility, workforce and supervision guidance for those working with children and adults. The updated (March 2015) version is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/dbs-check-eligible-positions-guidance

Keeping Children Safe in Education: Statutory guidance on safeguarding children and safer recruitment has been published at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/keeping-children-safe-in-education--2

Advice for Safeguarding Practitioners: Guidance for those responsible for advising on safeguarding issues has been issued at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/safeguarding-practitioners-information-sharing-advice

GCE AS and A Level Modern Foreign Languages: Updated subject content for modern foreign languages for teaching from 2016 can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/gce-as-and-a-level-modern-foreign-languages

GCSE Ancient Languages: The subject content for the Ancient Languages GCSE from 2016 has been published at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/gcse-ancient-foreign-languages

Post-16 courses database: operational guide: A guide to putting course information on a national database available to potential students can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/post-16-courses-database-operational-guide

SEND guide for parents and carers update: An updated guide (published March 2015) on the support system for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/send-guide-for-parents-and-carers

Implementing the 0 to 25 special needs system: further education: Updated Departmental advice for all post-16 colleges and academies can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/implementing-the-0-to-25-special-needs-system-further-education

College of Teaching and professional support for school teachers: The Government has announced plans for the establishment of a new college of teaching and support for professional development for school teachers. Further details at: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-announces-plans-to-help-raise-the-status-of-teaching

Opening a UTC: Documents for groups interested in opening a university technical college (UTC) can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/opening-a-utc

Professional Bodies



Ofsted launch regional events on Future of education inspection: Learn more about the changes to the way Ofsted inspects schools, further education and skills and early years provision from September at regional events at: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/future-of-education-inspection-regional-launch-events.
NB: West Midlands is sold out but there is an email address for those requiring tickets.


New A level and AS level qualifications: requirements and guidance: Rules, regulations and guidance for the reformed A levels and AS qualifications (taught from September 2015) has been published at: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/new-a-level-and-as-level-qualifications-requirements-and-guidance

GCSEs (9 to 1): requirements and guidance: Rules, regulations and guidance for GCSEs graded 9 to 1 has been published at: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/gcses-9-to-1-requirements-and-guidance

Ofqual has published its decisions for completing GCSE, AS and A level reform: Following our June 2014 consultation, we are now announcing our decisions on the reform of qualifications for first teaching in 2016/2017. Details can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/gcses-as-and-a-levels-new-subjects-to-be-taught-in-2015

After the QCF: A new qualifications framework: Following a Consultation in December 2014, Ofqual has published proposals that will enable them to introduce a new descriptive qualifications framework, the key requirements of which will be that the size and the level of all regulated qualifications are described in a consistent way. The Report can be read at:https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/416467/2015-03-25-after-the-qcf-a-new-qualifications-framework.pdf

Regulatory arrangements for the qualifications and credit framework: Following consultation, Ofqual will be withdrawing the rules for the QCF and are now consulting on new, simpler rules which would replace parts of the QCF. However, in the meantime, the revised rules and regulations for all qualifications which are part of the qualifications and credit framework can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/regulatory-arrangements-for-the-qualifications-and-credit-framework

Rules, regulations and guidance documents: Ofqual has published revised rules, regulations and guidance for a number of qualifications. However they are proposing to withdraw these rules after the QCF consultation. For current revised rules see:

Criteria for national vocational qualifications (NVQs): https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/criteria-for-national-vocational-qualifications-nvqs.
NVQ Code of Practice
: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/nvq-code-of-practice-2006
Guided Learning Hours: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/guided-learning-hours

Education and Training Foundation

Report on Functional Skills: A Report 'Making Maths and English work for all' found that employers are in favour of qualifications which provide practical maths and English skills. GCSE is well recognised and Functional Skills are gaining recognition but should be made more rigorous. The Report can be read at: http://www.et-foundation.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/Making-maths-and-English-work-for-all-25_03_2015001.pdf

New apprenticeship resources for staff in the education and training sector: The resources include guides, tool-kits, staff training materials and videos, and have all been designed to support staff involved in apprenticeship delivery. All of the resources are available on the ASSP website: www.apprenticeship-staff-support.co.uk.

NIACE Report 'Engaging Learners in GCSE Maths and English': The Report covers research findings into young people’s attitudes to GCSE maths and English and can be read at: http://shop.niace.org.uk/engaging-learners-gcse-maths-english.html

(Skills Funding Agency)

Apprenticeships: teachers' handbook and study material: Information for young people and teachers to help potential apprentices choose their career has been published at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/apprenticeships-teachers-handbook-and-study-material

Apprenticeship standards: New apprenticeship standards developed by employers can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/apprenticeship-standards

SFA: funding rates and formulae: The funding system and rates that the Skills Funding Agency has used to approve qualifications for public funding including 2015-2016, can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/sfa-funding-rates
Funding rules 2015 to 2016: the adult skills budget including apprenticeships can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/funding-rules-2015-to-2016-the-adult-skills-budget-including-apprenticeships
Funding rules 2015 to 2016: programmes: can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/funding-rules-2015-to-2016-programmes
General funding rules for 2015 to 2016: can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/general-funding-rules-for-2015-to-2016

SFA: higher and degree apprenticeships: Information for employers and higher education institutions can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/sfa-higher-and-degree-apprenticeships

(Higher Education Funding Council for England)

Changing the learning landscape: Students, practitioners and university leaders from across 145 UK universities and colleges have taken part in a programme to advance technology-enhanced student learning. A summary report has been published, and a range of online resources has been launched. The report and resources can be accessed at: http://www.lfhe.ac.uk/en/programmes-events/your-university/cll/index.cfm?utm_source=development&utm_campaign=cll

Hefce funding 2015-2016: HEFCE will allocate £3.97 billion to 130 universities and higher education colleges and 214 further education and sixth form colleges for the academic year 2015-16. Further details at: http://www.hefce.ac.uk/news/newsarchive/2015/Name,103785,en.html

Project set to boost higher technical education in colleges across the country: This Association of Colleges project will see teachers working closely with employers to ensure they are passing on the most up-to-date industry knowledge to their students. Further details at: http://www.hefce.ac.uk/news/newsarchive/2015/Name,102227,en.html

New Centre for Global Higher Education announced: The work of the CGHE is intended to build on the global standing of the English higher education system by developing comparable strength in higher education research. In doing so, it will ensure that higher education policy and practice is underpinned by world-leading expertise and theoretical understanding. Further details are at: http://www.hefce.ac.uk/news/newsarchive/2015/Name,103824,en.html

New HEFCE report shines further light on young participation in higher education: The report, ‘Young participation in higher education: A-levels and similar qualifications’ (HEFCE 2015/03), examines the rates of young participation in higher education for all Key Stage 5 pupils from English schools and colleges achieving a Level 3 qualification between 2006 and 2013. It can be read at: http://www.hefce.ac.uk/pubs/year/2015/201503/



WMCETT's Sector News gives weekly updates on education and can be found at: http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/study/cll/othercourses/wmcett/resources/sectornews

WMCETT website: The University website has been revised and there have been some idyosyncratic results! Apologies for any issues you have in finding things, please let Julie know if problems persist.

Rising to the Challenge - WM network events: WMCETT are pleased to announce a series of FREE maths and English network events across the region - 'Rising to the ‘Challenge’. These events will offer an opportunity for managers and practitioners to gain an update on some of the major challenges being faced, share effective practice, and explore how they might take things forward within their organisations. Further details at:


NCETM Free Maths Workshops: The National Centre for Excellence in the Teaching of Mathematics (NCETM) series of free one-day workshops for maths for vocational teachers, tutors and trainers are continuing during the summer term. Details at: www.ncetm.org.uk/feworkshops

Warwick Lifelong Learning Annual Conference 2015: The Warwick Lifelong Learning Annual Conference with the theme: Dimensions of Lifelong Learning: Past, Present and Future will take place from Monday 29 June to Wednesday 1 July 2015 in Scarman Conference Centre at the University of Warwick. This conference takes place against the background of celebrating thirty years of provision of adult education and lifelong learning at the University of Warwick and reflects on the history, theory, practice and policy of adult education in all its diverse settings in the UK, Europe and internationally as well as thinking about the present and looking to the future. Further details at: http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/study/cll/news/llconf2015

Summer conference: Advance notice that WMCETT will be hosting a one-day Maths & English Fest! at Warwick University on Monday 29th June. WMCETT are interested in hearing from anyone who would like to run a workshop at the event, showcasing effective or innovative practice.

Policy Watch

Policy Watch: Published by The Pearson Centre, it comments on the latest initiatives and can be read at http://uk.pearson.com/home/policy-watch.html. Topics this month include:
Keeping Track of what happened in the world of education in March 2015
Which way for adult voc.ed?
Education and budget 2015
Three lessons from National Apprenticeship week