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WMCOP Bulletin February 2016

Welcome to the February 2016 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 Government Departmental Plans have been updated showing what has been achieved against their objectives; an Enterprise Bill Factsheet on what the Bill means for apprenticeships has been published and the Education and Adoption Bill has now passed through Parliament.

Changes to GCE, AS and A Level examinations have been finalised for most subjects although a couple are still under consultation (see below) and performance measures for the EBacc have been announced.

The Skills Funding Agency has published a series of documents on apprenticeship changes together with the removal of some frameworks. As National Apprenticeship Week approaches, new publicity material and a 'pledge-o-meter' for employers are announced.

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


(Department for Business, Innovation and Skills)

BIS single departmental plan: 2015 to 2020: BIS has published its latest departmental plan updates against targets. This includes sections on the Government's objectives and targets reached for Apprenticeships and Skills and Higher Education. Further details can be found at: 

BT announce top quality opportunities for apprentices: BT has announced the launch of 1,400 new apprenticeship and graduate jobs offering a wide range of opportunities including roles in cyber security and software development. Further details at:

Institute for Apprenticeships: Enterprise Bill factsheet: This factsheet outlines the measures that will be included in the Enterprise Bill. These measures will establish a new body - the Institute for Apprenticeships - to support employer-led reforms and regulate the quality of apprenticeships. Further details at:

Apprenticeship standards: changes to the process for approvals: There is now a monthly deadline, usually the last Thursday of every month, for bids from employer groups wanting to develop new apprenticeships. See the announcement at:

Review of publicly funded digital skills qualifications: The review looked at how relevant and up to date the qualifications the SFA currently funds are, both in terms of responding to technological change and building in progression. Further details and a summary of recommendations can be found at:

Poor basic literacy and numeracy: effect on employers: The findings of a study into employer views on the effect of poor basic skills on workplace performance, based on a literature review, survey results and case studies, can be found at:

Consultation on the frequency of the 24+ Advanced Learning Loans reports: This Consultation closes on 11 March. It is seeking views on a proposal to change the frequency of the 24+ Advanced Learning Loans reports from monthly to quarterly. Further details at:

Student loan repayment strategy: A Policy Paper on how BIS are revising the student loan repayment system includes: improving capability to pursue outstanding student loan debt; better forecast future repayment and loan rates to set better targets; reducing operational costs and improving customer service for borrowers. Further details at:

Self-employment review Report: An independent Report into the challenges and opportunities of people who are self-employed, has been published. It recommends better support and training and can be read at:

Post-16 education and training institutions: area based reviews: Updated guidance 0n the national framework for area reviews of the post-16 education and training sector, published on 8 September 2015, to include lessons learned and additional information on the restructuring facility, national benchmarks for FE and SF colleges, and academisation for post-16 providers. Further details at:

New guidance calling for universities to work more closely with schools in poorer neighbourhoods: The guidance sets out the government’s advice to the Director of Fair Access outlining the priorities for widening access and success for disadvantaged students. Further details at:

Higher education living cost support: EU nationals' residency requirements: Government response: Following consultation the Government is extending the eligibility criteria for access to higher education student living cost support for EU nationals by increasing the residency requirement for those starting courses in the 2016 to 2017 academic year onwards to 5 years’ residency in the UK. Further details at:

£204 million fund for UK universities to train future science leaders and boost quantum research: The £167 million investment in Doctoral Training Partnerships and £37 million investment in the UK’s National Quantum Technologies Programme is part of the Government's commitment to investing in science. Further details at:

(Department for Education)

GCE AS and A level subject content: Documents for schools about GCE AS and A level subject content for teaching from 2015, 2016 and 2017 has been published at:

Nicky Morgan speech to the Association of Colleges: In this speech Nicky Morgan sets out her vision for colleges and sixth form centres including technical, vocational and 'character' education. Further details at:

The Education and Adoption Bill: This Bill, which will see more schools becoming academies, has now passed through Parliament and is awaiting Royal assent. Further details at:

UTCs and studio schools: applications received: A list of the applications received for UTC and Studio Schools, has been published. These schools cater for the 14-19 age group and the spreadsheet also gives opening year. Further details at:

Department for Education: single departmental plan 2015 to 2020: Our single departmental plan describes the Department for Education's priority objectives for 2015 to 2020. Further details at:

English Baccalaureate (EBacc): A Policy paper has been published setting out what the EBacc performance measure is, and the criteria qualifications must meet to count towards it. Further details at:

Prime Minister outlines plan for reform of prisons: The PM announces reform to the prison system including six new 'reform prisons' to be created this year and changes to the prison education system. Further details at:

Publication of reformed GCSE and A level content for 2017: A Statement by Minister of State for Schools Nick Gibb about GCSE, AS and A level subject content for teaching from September 2017 has been published at:

Professional News


Education and Training Foundation

Final call for employers to take part in Functional Skills consultation: Consultation ends 7 April. Maths and English Functional Skills qualifications are the second most widely used qualifications after GCSEs and employers are being asked for their views in a government-backed reform programme. Further details at:

March Events:

Leadership Summit 2016 – Leading beyond Area Reviews, Wed 9th Mar, 2016
Aelp - Prevent Duty - Tues 15 March
FE Week Annual Apprenticeship Conference & Exhibition, Wed 16th Mar, 2016 - Fri 18th Mar, 2016
AoC Area Reviews and New College Structures Conference – Reading, Wed 16th Mar, 2016


Initial teacher education: inspection statistics September 2014 to August 2015: Official statistics covering outcomes from initial teacher education inspections between September 2014 and August 2015 have been published at:

Conduct of inspectors during Ofsted inspections: Guidance on the conduct of Ofsted inspectors and Ofsted's expectations of providers during inspection has been published at:

Safeguarding concerns: guidance for inspectors: Guidance on what an Ofsted inspector should do when a child or young person tells them that a child or young person is being harmed or at risk of harm has been published at:

Monthly management information: Ofsted's further education and skills inspections outcomes from December 2015: From December 2015 further education and skills management information includes both in-year and most recent inspection outcomes. Data will be updated monthly, around the 10th working day of each month. Further information can be found at:
Statement by HM Chief Inspector on the wearing of the full veil in schools: Ofsted’s Chief Inspector today gave his full support to school and college leaders who decide to take a stand against the inappropriate wearing of the veil. Further details at:


GCSE reform: Consultations: Consultations about changes to rules and guidance for new GCSEs:
regulations for sociology: Consultation ends 1 April 2016: Details at:
regulations for modern foreign languages: Consultation ends 21 March 2016: Details at:

GCSEs (9 to 1): requirements and guidance: Updated guidance on rules, regulations and guidance for GCSEs graded 9 to 1 has been published at:

Accreditation of GCSEs, AS & A levels for teaching from 2016: Updated information which shows which specifications from exam boards have been accredited for teaching from September 2016 or, where the specification has not been accredited, what the next stage is and any dates associated with that specification.

Skills Funding Agency

Apprenticeship changes: A series of documents relating to apprenticeship reform, including guidance for employers carrying out the new changes (trailblazers), has been published at:

Apprenticeship standards: An updated list of the new apprenticeship standards developed by employers has been published at:

Removal of apprenticeship frameworks: A list of apprenticeship frameworks to be removed as part of the apprenticeship reform programme has been published at:

Register of apprentice assessment organisations: A list of organisations approved as end point apprentice assessors has been published at:

Key facts about apprenticeships: Promotional material giving facts, figures and statistics about apprenticeships, has been published at:

Apprenticeship funding rules for higher education institutions: Rules for HEIs that receive funding for the delivery of training or end-point assessment of apprenticeship frameworks or standards for 2016 to 2017 have been published at:

Employer guide to apprenticeships and traineeships: Information for employers showing the benefits of apprenticeships and traineeships to their business has been published at:

Pledge-o-meter and Events Map live for National Apprenticeship Week 2016: An online tool for businesses to share their apprenticeship and traineeship pledges in the run up to National Apprenticeship Week is now live. Further details at:

(Higher Education Funding Council for England)

Colleges continue to improve retention while recruiting strongly from disadvantaged backgrounds: report on higher education performance indicators highlights that further education colleges (FECs) continue to achieve higher proportions of entrants from backgrounds where people have traditionally not participated in higher education (known as low-participation neighbourhoods), when compared with higher education institutions (HEIs). Further details at:,107463,en.html

Social innovation learning pilot projects funded by HEFCE: HEFCE will fund six social innovation learning pilot projects totalling £98,000, following a social innovation ‘sandpit’ event. Further details at:,107622,en.html


Policy Watch

Policy Watch: Published by The Pearson Centre, it comments on the latest initiatives and can be read at