Skip to main content

WMCOP Bulletin April 2017

Welcome to the April 2017 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.

The General Election is the main news at the moment! However a lot has been going on, particularly with Apprenticeships: The Apprenticeship Levy has officially been launched; the Institute for Apprenticeships (IfA) has published its Operational Plan; there are Guidance papers on how the IfA should carry out its duties; a Policy Paper for apprenticeship reform; phase 2 of the Degree Apprenticeship Fund has opened; the Government has set targets for public sector apprenticeships and ESFA has published a guide to employing apprentices.

Justine Greening has set out the Government's vision for social mobility and clarified the new GCSE levels 4 and 5 pass grades. Ofqual has published reports on inter-subject comparability for GCSE and A level and A level modern language standardisation.

WMCETT has some Maths and English resilience courses available for hosting and some interesting CPD professional exchanges.

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

General Election: The Government has called a General Election for 8 June 2017 and Parliament will be dissolved on 3 May 2017.

Department for Education

Justine Greening's speech to the Social Mobility Commission: In her speech Justine Greening talks about social mobility and how she is making social mobility the driving focus of the Department for Education. She focuses on 3 core priorities: Firstly, tackling geographic disadvantage, secondly, investing in long-term capacity in our system, and thirdly, making sure our education system as a whole really prepares young people and adults for career success. She discusses the National Fairer Funding Formula for schools, more school places and opportunity areas; strengthening qualified teacher status and offering incentives to ITT providers; FE, apprenticeships and technical qualifications, especially the new T-level qualification framework. Her speech can be read at:

GCSE 9 to 1 grading: Justine Greening’s letter to the Education Select Committee: In this letter Justine Greening clarifies that a grade 4 pass will be 'the level that pupils must achieve in order not to be required to continue studying English and maths post 16'. Whilst a level 4 will be classed as a "standard pass" and a grade 5 will be classed as a "strong pass" she also says that the Ofsted process to avoid grade inflation 'will ensure that broadly the same proportion of pupils achieve the grade 4 and above this summer as achieved the grade C and above last year'. The letter can be read at:

Apprenticeship Levy: The government has officially launched its apprenticeship levy which requires all employers in the UK with an annual wage bill of over £3 million to pay 0.5% of it towards funding apprenticeships. The money will be invested in training for apprentices and double the annual investment in apprenticeships in England to £2.5 billion by 2019 to 2020, compared with 2010 to 2011 levels. Further details at:

Institute for Apprenticeships: operational plan: Following a Consultation, the DfE has published a draft operation plan for the Institute for Apprenticeships giving details of the institute’s policies and functions and how it will: regulate the quality of apprenticeship proposals, standards and assessment plans; collaborate with partners; lead reforms to technical education and implement the new system. Further details at:

Institute for Apprenticeships: strategic guidance - 2017 to 2018: Guidance from the government on how the Institute for Apprenticeships should carry out its functions for the 2017 to 2018 financial year has been published at:

Apprenticeship reform programme: benefits realisation strategy: A Policy Paper which sets out the Government aims for apprenticeship reform and summarises how this will benefit employers and apprentices, has been published at:

Apprenticeship accountability statement: This document is for employers, apprenticeship providers and assessment bodies. It sets out the responsibilities of each organisation with a role in regulating the apprenticeships system. It can be found at:

Public sector apprenticeship target: Guidance for public sector bodies with 250 or more staff on the public sector apprenticeship target has been published. The target is for prescribed groups and public sector bodies with 250 or more staff in England to employ an average of at least 2.3% of their staff as new apprentice starts over the period of 1 April 2017 to 31 March 2021. Further details at:

Children and young people’s mental health: peer support: The results of a Consultation have been published together with an analysis of the findings, including a short analysis aimed at children and young people. The report can be found at:

Level 2 and 3 attainment by young people aged 19 in 2016: Statistics on the attainment of young people aged 19 in the 2015 to 2016 academic year have been published at:

16 to 18 level 3 value-added ready reckoner: A spreadsheet for schools and colleges to calculate level 3 value-added measures for school sixth forms and colleges in the 16 to 18 performance tables, has been published at:

Governance handbook and competency framework: The 'Clerking competency framework' has been added to the Governance Handbook and competency framework. For further details see:

Government confirms funding for EU students for 2018 to 2019: The government has confirmed that EU students will continue to remain eligible for undergraduate, master’s, postgraduate and advanced learner financial support in academic year 2018 to 2019. The decision means EU students applying for an undergraduate or master’s course at an English university or further education institution in the 2018 to 2019 academic year will continue to have access to student loans and grants, even if the course concludes after the UK’s exit from the EU. Further details at:

Graduates’ career planning and its effect on their outcomes: Findings from the planning for success survey, which examined student outcomes and career planning strategies have been published at:

Encouraging people into university: A research report has been published on the effect of supplying less advantaged but very able young people with personalised information on their university career options. It found no significant difference in applications but that it did affect applications to Russell Group universities. The report can be read at:

Higher education: understanding participation gaps: A Report examining differences in higher education participation between different areas in England has been published at:

Behaviour in schools: An independent review by Tom Bennett on behaviour in schools has been published, together with the Government's response at

Professional Bodies

The Education and Training Foundation

Mental health and apprenticeships: The ETF has produced three case studies to showcase effective practice within the sector around mental health. They will form part of a module on mental health in ‘Equality, Diversity and Inclusion in Apprenticeships’, the free online course. Further details at:

New further education programme for Chief Financial Officers: ICAEW have announced that they have been commissioned by the ETF to deliver a programme that will deliver a step change in the ability of CFOs in the sector to partner with their CEO to drive strategy forward. This is in response to the further education (FE) commissioner’s annual report identifying that 14 of the 17 interventions were due to financial concerns. Further details at:

Announcing the FE Strategic Leadership Programme: This programme will be delivered by the Said Business School, University of Oxford and is open to Principals and CEOs across further education and training. An initial 100 places will be filled in three cohorts, the first beginning in June 2017. Further details at:

Ofsted and Ofqual

New Ofsted Chair announced: Professor Julius Weinberg has been appointed the next Chair of Ofsted. He moves from deputy Chair at Ofqual. Further details at:

Ofsted launches new good and outstanding logos: Early years, education and children's care providers can now download and use a 'Good provider' or 'Outstanding provider' logo. Further details at:

Further education and skills inspection handbook: April update: Ofsted will inspect apprenticeships funded through both the apprenticeship levy and ESFA and a few minor changes. Further details at:

Accreditation of GCSEs, AS and A levels for teaching from 2017: Ofqual updates for April 2017 showing the status of subjects being accredited for teaching from September 2017 can be found at:

Ofqual unveils corporate plan 2017 to 2020: Ofqual sets its goals and objectives for the next three years as: reform in both general and vocational & technical qualifications; the maintenance of assessment standards and effective use of the organisation’s resources. The plan can be found at:

Setting grade standards in A level modern foreign languages: Research relating to the effect of native speakers in A level modern foreign languages assessment suggests there could be implications for the maintenance of standards. However, quantifying the size of any effect is challenging as is identifying native speakers, therefore the situation will continue to be monitored. Further details at:

A policy position for Ofqual on inter-subject comparability: Ofqual has decided that the challenges apparent in conceptualising and measuring how subjects may compare means that it will not try to take coordinated action to align grade standards across the full range of GCSE or A level subjects.

Education and Skills Funding Agency

Employing an apprentice: technical guide for employers: This guide we summarises what an employer needs to do, and the things they need to consider, if they want to employ an apprentice. Further details at:

 Advice: funding regulations for post-16 provision: Advice about post-16 funding regulations for 2017-18 can be found at:

National Apprenticeship Awards: apprentice categories: Information for apprentices including award categories, what the judges are looking for and how to enter the awards can be found at: Employer categories are at:

Higher Education Funding Council for England

Invitations now open for the phase 2 of the Degree Apprenticeship Development Fund: Proposals for the second phase of the Degree Apprenticeships Development Fund should be submitted by noon on Tuesday 6 June 2017. Further details at:,113392,en.html

Quality settlement between Ofsted and HEFCE for apprenticeships: The launch of the Institute for Apprenticeships includes confirmation of a quality settlement between Ofsted and HEFCE that agrees responsibility for the quality assessment of apprenticeships delivered by higher education (HE) providers between Levels 4 and 7. Further information at:,113266,en.html

Interdisciplinary Research Advisory Panel (IDAP) announced: The IDAP has been established to advise the REF teams on the approach to support the submission and assessment of interdisciplinary research in the REF. It will be chaired by Dame Athene Donald. Further details at:,113331,en.html



Maths and English resilience courses available for hosting now: WMCETT's contract with the ETF to run more subsidised one-day introduction to mathematical and English resilience courses around the country, and also three-day introduction to coaching skills for maths/English resilience has been extended until April 2018 and WMCETT are now inviting organisations to get in touch if they would like to host a course - for as little as FIVE of your own staff. There is more information at:

WMCETT ETF Professional Exchange in 2017: We are pleased to say the Professional Exchange will continue this year, with five more CPD events to be held between now and the end of July. The first events organised are:
Wednesday, 3 May: Improving student and trainee engagement
Tuesday, 23 May: Digital skills and technology in learning
Monday, 12 June: Assessment, progression and employability
Monday, 3 July: English and Maths Fest! 2017
Further details and information can be found at:

FE Week: FE Week describes itself as 'a lively read, offering a mixture of news, exclusives, expert comment, features, technical information, coffee break snippets and more. Worth a read at

Policy Watch, published by The Pearson Centre, has weekly updates on the latest educational initiatives and can be read at