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WMCOP Bulletin April 2014

Welcome to the April 2014 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 there is a speech from Vince Cable which gives the Government's thinking on links between HE and FE including specialist colleges and higher apprenticeships and David Willetts speech on HE looking at the economic and social impact of universities, including widening participation.

Qualifications feature heavily this month with the list of vocational qualifications to be included in performance tables published; the content for A level and GCSE subjects for both 2015 published and the specifications for 2016 also published. An Introduction and Technical guide to the 16-18 Core Maths qualification is also out.

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

See below for:

News from the Profession


Discussion documents


Government News


BIS (Department for Business, Innovation and Skills)

Higher and Further Education Institutions: Speech by Vince Cable: Vince Cable's speech sets out the Government's vision for HE and FE. It sets out six strategies: the new generation of National Colleges which are subject centres of expertise such as HS2; higher apprenticeships which incorporate a degree; Foundation degree providers to accredit their own programmes and quality checking of all programmes; possible maintenance loans and grants for students at National Colleges; closer working between HE and FE; UCAS to incorporate higher level apprenticeships in their service. Further details at:

Industrial Strategy: early successes and future priorities: This update on the impact of industrial strategy sets out achievements and future priorities across the 5 themes of industrial strategy: sectors, skills, technologies, access to finance and procurement. It can be read at:
Aircraft Research Association: A new aerospace headquarters that will help allocate £2 billion of funding to research and technology projects across the country has opened as part of the Industrial Strategy. Further details at:

Research Centre for Maths and English: A new Behavioural Insights Research Centre for Maths and English will be set up to research how behavioural science can help improve adult literacy and numeracy. It has a 3 year start-up grant and will be run in partnership with the Behavioural Insights Team. Further details at:

Speech by David Willetts to the Universities UK (UUK) Conference: The speech has a number of themes which point to the Government's vision for HE in the future, see below. It can be read at:
UK Universities contribution to economic growth: An update to the Report has been published 'Impact of universities on the UK economy'. It finds that the UK higher education (HE) sector contributed an output of over £73 billion and more than 750,000 full-time jobs in 2011 to 2012. This equates to 2.8% of gross domestic product (GDP) - up from 2.3% in 2007 to 2008. Universities are diversifying with more income coming from outside contracts than from Government funding.
New Innovations map: The National Centre for Universities and Business will lead on mapping where our clusters of innovation area big push to encourage new higher education campuses in cold spots
More University Places: This includes increasing the number of campuses and enabling all those who are qualified to go to university.
National Strategy for Widening Access: A new strategy led by HEFCE and Office for Fair Access (OFFA) has been launched with employability as one of its key themes.
Research Excellence Framework (REF): The REF assesses the quality and broader impact of research using a combination of peer review and a variety of quantitative metrics. The suggestion is that, with the advance in datasets, metrics will play a greater role and HEFCE have been asked to review of the role of metrics in research assessment and management to report in 2015. They will also consider whether other countries could be part of REF.
Higher Education Innovation funding (HEIF): new research shows that universities secure a six-fold return from their HEIF investment.

Sharia compliant student finance: A consultation on a shaia-compliant student finance model has been launched. The proposed system will enable people whose religious beliefs forbid them from taking out loans that accrue interest to take advantage of student loans. Details at:

Higher education: student support: changes to Disabled Students' Allowances (DSA): Whilst the grant is being maintained for 2015-16 at the 2013-2014 level, the support with specialist equipment, support workers and travel costs is being rebalanced. Further details at:

College Capital Investment Fund (CCIF): 22 colleges have benefitted from the last round of CCIF funding investing in the building of new facilities. Further details at:

Lorely Burt MP has been appointed ‘women in enterprise’ champion. In her role she will help female entrepreneurs and women-led businesses understand the help available. Details at:

DfE (Department for Education)

Vocational Qualifications for 14-19 year olds: The non-GCSE qualifications to be included in Performance Tables in 2016 has been published. It includes Tech Levels and Applied General Qualifications and can be found at:

Safeguarding Children in Education: Statutory guidance for schools and colleges 'Keeping children safe in education' has been published which sets out what schools and colleges must do to safeguard and promote the welfare of children and young people under the age of 18. It can be found at:

16-18 Core Maths Qualifications: An 'Introduction to the 16-18 Core Maths Qualifications' has been published. This qualification is at level 3 and is for those who are not doing AS/A level Maths. The document sets out the purpose, design process and characteristics of core maths qualifications, including expectations of: size; content; grading; assessment and an outline timetable for qualification development and accreditation. It can be read at:

Core maths technical guidance: Views are invited on the core maths technical guidance by 26 May 2014. Details can be found at:

Proportion of 16 and 17 year olds in education or training December 2013: The statistics by Local Education Authority for young people in education or training have been published at:

Statistics 16-19 Attainment: A range of different statistical data has been published giving attainment levels of young people from 16-19. This includes levels 1-2; levels 2-3; school and college key stage 5 performance tables; equivalent data over different years, ages and free school meals. The collection can be found at:

Michael Gove’s statement about the publication of reformed GCSE and A level content: Michael Gove gives the rationale for the changes to GCE A level and GCSEs and their assessment. His speech also looks at the new A level and GCSEs from 2016. His speech can be read at:

New GCSEs to be introduced in 2016:The new GCSEs are in art and design; music, drama and dance have been announced for 2016 and GCSEs in citizenship, computer science, design and technology, PE, and religious studies will also be reformed at this time.

New A levels to be introduced in 2016: A level music, drama, and dance, design and technology, PE, and religious studies will be reformed and will be taught for the first time in September 2016, alongside new A levels in maths, further maths, languages and geography.

GCE AS and A level Science 2015: The subject content for GCE AS and A level biology, chemistry, physics and psychology has been published. Details can be found at:

GCE AS and A level subject content 2015: AS and A level subject content publications setting out the knowledge, understanding and skills common to all AS and A level specifications has been published for: Business; sociology, economics, English Language, English Literature, English language and literature; science, history, art and design and computer science. They can be found at:

GCSE Science and Combined Science: The learning outcomes and subject coverage for GCSE science can be found at: and for combined science at:

GCSE subject content: GCSE subject content publications setting out the knowledge, understanding and skills common to all GCSE specifications has been published with guidance for: English Language and English Literature; mathematics; ancient languages; geography; history; modern foreign languages; combined science; single science and the content for equality analysis at:

Family Justice Reforms: The reforms put children at the centre of the family justice system and come as the new single Family Court becomes a reality and most of the family justice provisions from the Children and Families Act are implemented. Further details at:

Think Autism: An update to the Government's autism strategy for adults has been published. It includes actions regarding education apprenticeships and work and can be read at:

Implementing the 0-25 Special Needs System: Further Education: Departmental advice on implementing this system in FE has been published and can be read at:

Initial Teacher Training guidance for Training Providers and Schools: Guidance documents on: allocations; funding and candidate support; running and managing a training programme; teacher standards and statutory guidance; initial teacher training criteria; accreditation and accounts and audit; have been published and can be viewed at:

Chair of Ofqual: Amanda Spielman has been reappointed as Chair of Ofqual. Details at:

Professional Bodies

 Education and Training Foundation

GCSE Maths Enhancement Programme: Celebrates its 2000th student on the programme to upskills maths teachers to teach the GCSE curriculum and the programme continues although funding for the 6-day programme has now ended. More details at:
The 2000th student was part of the WMCETT cohort and her story can be read at:

New Website: The Foundation has a new website which gives direct links to sections on 'FE Advice' for those considering teaching; the Excellence Gateway and Foundation Online Learning, which provides online learning programmes. The ETF page is at:

IfL (Institute for Learning)

Toni Fazaeli to retire as IfL Chief Executive: Toni Fazaeli has announced that she will retire from her role as chief executive of IfL. Dr Jean Kelly will take over executive leadership of the professional body. Further details at:

HEFCE (Higher Education Council for England)

New Higher Education Campuses: HEFCE has been asked to consider how the removal of the cap on student numbers from 2015-16 might contribute to the development of new, collaborative approaches to tertiary provision in areas which currently lack these facilities. They will work with key stakeholders to offer advice by autumn 2014. The letter from BIS can be read at:

Universities as anchors of the economy and society: A research report published by HEFCE describes the achievements and challenges for universities. Further details at: and the Report is at:

Differences in Degree outcomes: Key findings: This report looks at the outcomes of the cohort of English-domiciled A-level students who entered full-time degree courses in 2007‑08. It examines the extent to which a student’s background affects their chance of obtaining an upper second or first class degree and can be read at:

National strategy for access and student success in higher education – driving forward change: As mentioned in David Willetts' speech (see above) A national strategy has been developed to ensure that all those with the potential to benefit from higher education have equal opportunity to participate and succeed. Further details can be found at: and the Report is at:


New Director for Further Education and Skills: Lorna Fitzjohn HMI has been appointed as Director of Further Education and Skills, taking over from Matthew Coffey. Details at:

Employer View: A new online tool that enables employers to rate further education and skills providers has been launched which allows employers to lodge their views on specific providers, inspected by Ofsted, which train their employees, including apprentices and those that are working for them through work experience or work placements. Further details at:


Sector News

WMCETT's Sector News gives weekly updates on education and can be found at:


The Jisc Regional Support Centre West Midland’s annual e-learning conference, ‘Discover-e 2014’ is now open for bookings. This free event will start with a pre-conference overview and activities on the 10th June with the main event taking place over 2 days (17th & 18th June). This online event is aimed at anyone with an interest in using technology for teaching and learning. Details at:

Policy Watch

Policy Watch: Published by The Pearson Centre, it comments on the latest initiatives and can be read at: Topics this month include:
April Tracker
Labour picks up the Heseltine agenda
FE looks to the future
Setting the grade for GCSEs
Catching up on the latest GCSE and A level developments
Keeping track of what happened in the world of education in March