Skip to main content

WMCOP Bulletin April 2018

Welcome to the April 2018 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.

Guidance papers and research papers predominate this month from both the DfE and the Education and Training Foundation. The DfE has published guidance on: FE ITE bursaries for 2018-19; development for ITE providers on self-evaluation and improvement planning; ITE maths knowledge self enhancement programmes; guidance on when NQTs can do their induction in FE; 16-19 study programmes guide for providers and a new GCSE grading factsheet. There is also guidance for FEIs seeking to award Foundation Degrees and providers seeking to apply for taught and/or research degree awarding powers. There is also a call for employers to join the T-level panels and a consultation on FE performance reporting.

Ofsted has revised the Further education and skills inspection handbook which now replaces support and challenge visits with monitoring visits for requires improvement providers and the ETF has published reports on Initial Teacher Education Provision in FE and Skills and Workforce data and SIR Data Insights.

National Apprenticeship Award nominations have new categories and are now open until 25 May and there is updated advice on higher and degree apprenticeships and a revised Guide to Apprenticeships.

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

Further education initial teacher training bursary: 2018 to 2019: Guidance and the form for initial teacher training providers claiming bursaries for the 2018 to 2019 academic year has been published. The information applies to trainees starting in the academic year 2018 to 2019 and includes: further education training bursary rates and qualifying subjects and relevant degree classifications required for bursary award. Further details can be found at:

Initial teacher training: self-evaluation and improvement planning advice for providers: Advice for accredited providers of initial teacher training (ITT) on developing an annual self-evaluation and improvement plan to raise outcomes for trainees has been published. This advice is recognised in the Ofsted ITT Inspection handbook and can be found at:

Mathematics subject knowledge enhancement guide: 2018 to 2019: Guidance and form for initial teacher training providers applying for subject knowledge enhancement programmes for the 2018 to 2019 academic year. These only apply to mathematics, are only for pre-service, post-graduate programmes and specifically support programmes which allow trainees to teach maths to GCSE and level 3. Further details at:

16 to 19 study programmes: guide for providers: Information for education and training providers on the planning and delivery of study programmes has been published. It covers academic, technical and vocational study programmes, including traineeships and supported internships and applies to all providers of 16 to 19 education in England. The guidance can be found at:

16 to 18 qualifications, discount codes and point scores: Approved 16 to 18 qualifications and discount codes for reporting in the school and college performance tables has been published at:

Skills Minister calls on employers to join new T level panels: Anne Milton has called on industry experts from agriculture, environmental and animal care; business and administration; hair and beauty; creative and design; and catering and hospitality to join the influential T level employer panels and help develop the outline content for new qualifications. Further details can be found at:

Multi-million pound fund for adult learning announced: The Flexible Learning Fund will support 32 innovative projects across England to encourage more people to take part in new training or courses that will help them progress in current employment or secure a new job. The list of projects can be found at:

Performance reporting: FE college groups and multi-site colleges: A Consultation on proposals to strengthen the current performance reporting system for further education (FE) colleges is open and closes on 10 June 2018. This consultation sets out proposals for changes to the performance reporting system for FE colleges (including both general and specialist FE colleges), sixth-form colleges, and institutions designated as being within the further education sector. Further details can be found at:

Induction for newly qualified teachers (NQTs): An NQT can serve their induction in FE and Sixth form colleges provided: 90% of their time is with pupils under 19; at least 10 days are with children of compulsory school age in a school and every effort is made to provide the NQT with up to 15 extra days experience in a school. Further details of the statutory guidance can be found at:

Further Education Commissioner objective setting letter: A letter from Anne Milton setting out the key objectives of the Further Education (FE) Commissioner for the 2017 to 2018 academic year has been published. It sets out objectives in the following 6 areas: Formal Intervention; diagnostic Assessments; FE Provider Landscape; system Leadership; policy advice and intelligence and FE Commissioner Team. The letter and objectives can be read at:

GCSE new grading scale: factsheets: Information about the new GCSE grades has been published for parents, employers and further and higher education providers showing: the new GCSE grading scale; standard and strong pass marks and what this means for students, schools, parents and employers and when the new grades will apply to different subjects. Further information can be found at:

Key stage 4 qualifications, discount codes and point scores: Approved key stage 4 qualifications, discount codes and point scores for reporting in the 2014 to 2020 school and college performance tables have been published at:

Colleges: financial intervention and exceptional financial support: Guidance on how the DfE will protect students when a college seeks exceptional financial support has been published at:

Foundation degree awarding powers: This document provides guidance for further education institutions (FEIs) seeking to apply for foundation degree awarding powers up until 31 March 2018. Further information can be found at:

University title and university college title: This document sets out the process and detailed criteria for higher education providers seeking to apply for either university title or university college title. Further details can be found at:

Student loan repayment threshold rises to £25,000 per year: The biggest change to student finance since 2012 sees the repayment threshold rise to £25,000 per year and borrowers who have taken out loans since 2012 will not begin paying back their loans until they earn £25,000 a year. Further details at:

SoS writes to Nicola Dandridge (OfS) delegating Prevent monitoring duty: This letter sets out the Secretary of State’s expectations of the Office for Students, with regards to the statutory responsibility set out in the Counter Terrorism and Security Act 2015, to monitor compliance of ‘relevant higher education bodies’ with the statutory Prevent duty. Further details at:

Taught and research degree awarding powers: Guidance which sets out the detailed criteria and process for providers seeking to apply for taught degree awarding powers and/or research degree awarding powers has been published at:

Graduate labour market statistics: 2017: The Graduate, postgraduate and non-graduate employment rates and earnings for England for 2017 have been published at:

Apprenticeships: off-the-job training hours estimates: Analysis by the Institute for Apprenticeships (IFA) that estimates the overall volume of hours of off-the-job training for apprentices has been published and can be found at:

Apprenticeship and levy statistics: April 2018: Statistics covering latest monthly apprenticeship starts, apprenticeship service registrations and commitments, and apprenticeship levy information have been published at:

Experimental UK Performance Indicators 2016 to 2017: further tables: Further experimental statistics relating to widening participation and non-continuation rates at publicly funded HE providers and alternative providers have been published at:

14 to 19 technical and applied qualifications: technical guidance: These guidance documents explain the requirements of the technical and applied qualifications for 14- to 16-year-olds and for 16- to 19-year-olds that are included in performance tables and the process for submitting qualifications to DfE. Further details can be found at:

New measures to support children with SEND: A range of measures are being launched to provide support for children with special educational needs and disabilities. The new EHC plans provide tailored support for children and young people with SEND, bringing together their education, health and social care needs for the first time and replacing the old Statements of SEN. Further details can be found at:

Measures to deliver quality education across all settings: A call for evidence on a package of measures to help make sure children receive the best possible education either at home or outside of school has been announced. It closes on 28 July 2018 and further details can be found at:

Schools: Teacher Recruitment Bulletin: News and information for schools and initial teacher training (ITT) providers running teacher training programmes. See what's going on in school ITT at:

Funding boost for cross Commonwealth scholarship fund: The DfE has announced a £5 million UK contribution to the Queen Elizabeth Commonwealth Scholarship fund to improve the quality of education for girls from Commonwealth countries. Further details at:

Professional News

Education and Training Foundation

SET launches new modern identity: In response to a consultation, the ETF has re-branded its identity to more accurately reflect the quality, values and diversity of their professional community. Alongside the new identity, a new Twitter profile @SocietyET has also been created to sit alongside SET’s popular Facebook page. Further details at:

'Initial Teacher Education Provision in FE and Skills': This research report presents information on trainee teachers who attended ITE courses in the 2015/16 academic year, and the destinations of those on HE courses in 2016/17. The study also includes provider and qualification data from 2017/18. Key findings of the report were:

  • The delivery landscape is very diverse with 46 Awarding Organisations (AO) and 34 Higher Education Institutions (HEI) accredited ITE qualifications in 2015/16. FE colleges represent 45% of all ITE providers and 75% of Diploma or PGCE/Certificate of Education providers. Nearly 200 independent training providers and 110 Adult Community Learning providers deliver ITE, although most only deliver awards (Level 3).
  • The quality of ITE provision is good. All HEIs and FE colleges that had their education and teaching programmes inspected achieved a good (Grade 2) or outstanding (Grade 1) inspection grade.
  • There was a fall in the numbers studying for Awards (Level 3), Diplomas (Level 5) and PGCEs/Certificates of Education (Level 6/7) but an increase in those studying for Certificates (Level 4).
  • For those studying at Level 5 and above (Diploma or PGCE/Cert Ed), the in-service option is falling in popularity.
  • The overall number of ITE learners undertaking the specialist diplomas in literacy, numeracy and supporting learners with SEND has increased steadily from 20 to 254 between 2012/13 and 2015/16.
  • Around 60% of ITE learners progressed to a teaching role in FE, of which 73% gained employment in FE colleges. An increasingly high proportion gained employment in independent training providers.
  • The average salaries of ITE learners entering a full-time teaching role in 2015/16 was £25,220. This has remained relatively static since 2012/13.

The full report can be read at:

Spring QTLS window now open – register now: You have to be a SET member to register for professional formation, and to keep your QTLS current and up-to-date once you have been awarded with the status. The QTLS registration window is open from 3 April 2018 and closes on 31 May 2018. Further details on the SET website at:

Grant applications now open for the OTLA – apprenticeship standards: the Outstanding Teaching, Learning and Assessment (OTLA) programme is an opportunity for practitioners to explore, understand and share what outstanding looks like in the context of the new world of apprenticeships. There are 10 grant-funded collaborative projects, focusing on areas of practice and further details can be found on the SDN website at:

Annual report highlights new FE workforce data: This independent report provides a source of data on the latest trends in demographics, staffing numbers and pay across all provider types in the Further Education (FE) and Training sector. The key findings include:

  • 79% of learning support staff work part-time compared to 49% of all staff. However, the percentage of learning support staff working full-time has increased from 16.6% to 20.5%4.
  • The gender pay gap across all staff and providers is in favour of men by 9.7%.
  • Median pay across all staff and providers has increased from £27,500 to £28,500 over the past five years. For colleges, the change in median pay has been similar – from £27,500 to £28,700.
  • Most occupations have seen a decline in staff numbers during 2016-17. Only apprentice and learner-facing technical staff numbers have risen (15% and 1% respectively). Senior managers have seen the largest decline (10%).

The full report can be read at:

The benefits of online learning: An article about an innovative project that blends traditional classroom teaching with live online conversation classes enabling learners to ‘top up’ their weekly classes with online sessions, can be found at:


Further education and skills inspection handbook: Revised Guidance on how further education and skills providers are inspected under the common inspection framework which replaces support and challenge visits with monitoring visits for requires improvement providers and in other circumstances following the consultation. Further details at:

Using Ofsted’s inspection data summary report (IDSR): 16 to 19: Updated information for inspectors and stakeholders on using the 16 to 19 inspection data summary report or IDSR has been published at:

How Ofsted supports further education and skills providers: This guidance sets out what Ofsted does to help providers that have been judged to require improvement to get to good or better. Further information can be found at:

Inspecting learning and skills training for people in custody: Handbook for providers and Ofsted inspectors on inspecting training and work activities for young adults and adults prisons and young offender institutions. Further details can be found at:


 Let's have a successful exam series: This letter was sent to head teachers of secondary schools and FE colleges with information they may find useful while conducting this year’s GCSE, AS and A level exams. Attached is also a poster to help schools highlight to staff the relevant colleague to go to with any questions on exam procedures. Further details at:

Perceptions of qualifications in England: wave 16: The results of Ofqual's annual survey on perceptions of A levels, GCSEs and other qualifications in England. Conducted 24 October to 1 December 2017 have been published at:

Reviews of marking and moderation for GCSE, AS and A Level: summer 2017 exam series have been published at:

Ofqual's corporate plan: Ofqual's comprehensive programme of work, comprising 5 goals, to fulfil their statutory duties over the period 2018 to 2021 has been published at:

Functional Skills Consultation: This consultation ends on 11 May. This consultation builds on the decisions made in the September consultation and seeks views on the detailed conditions, requirements and guidance Ofqual want to put in place for new functional skills qualifications in English and mathematics. Further details can be found at: The outcome of the previous consultation can be found at:

Education and Skills Funding Agency

National Apprenticeship Awards 2018: Entries are open until 25 May and there are new categories this year including a Recruitment Excellence Award for employers and a Rising Star Award for apprentices. A list of all the categories and further details can be found at:

Higher and degree apprenticeships: Updated information for young people on the opportunities, progression and benefits of doing a higher or degree apprenticeship has been published at:

A guide to apprenticeships: Updated information on what it’s like to be an apprentice – the opportunities, benefits and just how far an apprenticeship can take you in the future has been published at:

Full-time enrolment of 14- to 16-year-olds in further education and sixth-form colleges: Information for further education and sixth-form colleges when directly enrolling 14- to 16-year-olds for academic year 2018 to 2019 has been published at:

16 to 19 education: financial management and assurance: Information about financial assurance and financial management of 16 to 19 institutions, including sixth-form and further education colleges that are funded by Education and Skills and Funding Agency (ESFA) has been published at:[]=education-and-skills-funding-agency

Funding allocations to training providers: 2017 to 2018: Funding values for colleges, training organisations, local authorities and employers with a contract for 2017 to 2018 has been published at:

Office for Students

Funding for higher education in England for 2018-19: OfS board decisions: The Office for Students (OfS), the new regulator for higher education in England, has agreed budgets for teaching and for other programmes and initiatives for the academic year 2018-19. Further details can be found at:

Support for providers developing access and participation plans: If you are developing an access and participation plan for academic year 2019-20, or think that you might need one, a range of support is available to help you. Further details 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 Articles include:
Fresh round of redundancies at Learndirect as funding dries up at
Special investigation: Why are colleges turning their backs on traineeships? at
People 1st collapses, stunning the FE sector at
Minister supports FE representation at Office for Students at
Apprenticeship end-point assessment crisis exposed at Apprenticeship end-point assessment crisis exposed
MPs’ inquiry will look into long-term planning for FE at
Apprenticeship starts still in free-fall at
New ways to win at the 15th National Apprenticeship Awards at
The Skills Show rebrands as WorldSkills UK LIVE at
Future of Workers’ Educational Association threatened by devolution at
Bitter war of words intensifies between AELP and IfA at


West Midlands Professional Exchange 2018: The 2018 Professional Exchange will give participating organisations and their staff an outstanding opportunity to learn from and with other organisations through a programme of joint practice development; by implementing current research findings and methodologies; by taking supported risks in trying out new techniques, and by sharing existing effective practice, including from other regions and sectors.

Four initial meetings of Subject Groups in the areas of maths, English, SEND and IT have now been set up and take place in May - for more information on how you can be involved see the Professional Exchange web page, or contact WMCETT Project Manager Julie Chamberlain at