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WMCOP Bulletin January 2016

Welcome to the December 2015/January 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.

An update from BIS on Further Education reform, together with a letter to colleges on funding, summarises the current situation in different areas of further education against the Government's vision. The Government's vision for Apprenticeships and how they intend to achieve their targets is set out in 'Apprenticeships (in England): Vision for 2020' and further details of the Apprentice Delivery Board, Apprenticeship Levy and Public sector apprenticeship targets have been published. The Ofsted annual report 'A Nation Divided' brings into focus the difference in educational standards between primary and secondary school achievements and that of the South versus the North and Midlands. More locally a strategic plan for the Midlands has been published by eleven Local Enterprise Councils.

Consultations, updated statistics and reports for the year ended 2015 include: A Consultation on Functional Skills, the Performance Tables for vocational and technical education for qualifications in 2018, GCSEs AS and A level reformed subject content for next year, the FE Statistical Analysis figures and performance tables for schools and colleges for 2014-15,

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)

Further education reform: update for colleges, December 2015: A letter from Nick Bowles together with a report 'Implementing the further education and skills reform programme: BIS and DfE brief on progress' was published in December. It is an overview and update on the further education reform programme and summarises the main aspects of further education with useful links to different areas. These areas include: Apprenticeships and Degree Apprenticeships, Traineeships, Technical and Professional Education (TPE) and a TPE Expert Panel, English and Maths, SEND, Tackling Extremism and the Prevent Duty, Advanced Learner Loans, Restructuring of Further Education – Area Reviews, converting Sixth Form Colleges into Academies and Localism. Further details at:

Apprenticeships (in England): vision for 2020: This publication outlines the government’s plan for: increasing the quality and quantity of apprenticeships and achieving 3 million apprenticeships by 2020. It also sets out what is expected of all main stakeholders, employers, education and training providers and government working together and both the report and an executive summary can be read at:

Midlands Growth Prospectus: A plan by 11 of the Midlands Local Enterprise Councils (LEPs) to encourage economic growth and investment in the Midlands has been published in response to the Government's predicted growth rate for the UK. It can be read at:

A series of publications relating to the Enterprise Bill: A series of publications relating to the Enterprise Bill, including a factsheet on Protecting the term Apprenticeship, have been published at:

FE Statistical Data - First quarter 2015-2016: This is published by the Skills Funding Agency (SFA). It is a National Statistics publication which provides information on adult (aged 19 and over) government-funded further education (excluding schools and higher education) and all age (16 and over) apprenticeships in England. The following are the key summary points for the first quarter of this academic year:
Further Education: 1,310,200 learners participated in government-funded adult further education in the first quarter of 2015/16.
Apprenticeship participation: 626,600 funded apprentices participated on an Apprenticeship in the first quarter of 2015/16 with 153,100 new Apprenticeship starts.
English and Maths: 533,400 adult learners participated in English and Maths courses.
The Statistical Data Report can be found at:

Higher education: alternative provider student number controls, 2014 to 2015: Data on student number controls awarded to alternative higher education providers for the 2014 to 2015 academic year has been published at:

Businesses at the heart of apprenticeship drive: Details of the companies that will sit on the new Apprenticeship Delivery Board and act as champions for apprenticeships, were released at a reception in Downing Street. The reception also celebrated the businesses that have employed apprentices and further details are at:

Public sector apprenticeship targets: The Government has opened a Consultation inviting comments on the proposed list of public bodies to be set targets related to the number of apprentices working for them. This follows a change to the Apprenticeships, Skills, Children and Learning Act 2009. This change is set out in the Enterprise Bill and is part of the drive to achieve 3 million apprenticeships. Further details of the Consultation can be found at:

Progress report on strategy for adults with autism: This report shows what has been achieved since the publication of ‘Think Autism’, which updated the cross-government autism strategy in April 2014. It also sets 31 new actions to continue to help local areas implement the autism strategy. It can be read at:

24+ advanced learning loans application information: December 2015: Official statistics for the number of applications for 24+ advanced learning loans for the August 2015 to July 2016 academic year have been published at:

Prior qualifications of adults on offender learning and skills courses: January to March 2015: Findings of research into prior qualification levels of adult prisoners undertaking learning while in custody, January to March 2015 can be found at:

Research Excellence Framework review: terms of reference: The terms of reference for an independent review of university research funding can be found at:

(Department for Education)

New law on careers advice to equalise apprenticeships: Schools must give equal airtime to the non-academic routes pupils can take post-16, under government plans to end the ‘second class’ perception of technical and professional education (TPE). There will be more information in the forthcoming Careers Strategy, further details at:

16 to 19 accountability headline measures: technical guide: Guide for schools, colleges and local authorities on new measures for the 2016 performance tables shows the five headline measures to be published in the 16 to 18 performance tables in 2016 are: progress, attainment, progress in English and maths, retention and destinations. Further details at:

Timeline for further education colleges: Mandatory: Updated information to help further education colleges understand and plan for the compulsory legal requirements they must meet has been published at: Useful updated information to help further education colleges find out about future changes, as well as identify upcoming activities that may benefit students has been published at:

GCE AS and A level subject content Update: The latest updates about GCE AS and A level subject content for teaching from 2015, 2016 and 2017 has been published at:

GCSE and A level subject content: equality analysis (11 subjects): An analysis of the effect that revised GCSE and A level subject content will have on specific protected groups of people has been published at:

GCSE and A level reform: content for teaching from September 2017: The Government has published a summary of the responses received, along with its response outlining the next steps on the Consultation on Reform of A level and GCSE content. Sociology GCSE has not been included because the responses received mean there is more work needed. The Report can be read at:

Performance tables 2018: technical and vocational qualifications: Lists of qualifications for teaching from September 2016 and reporting in the 2018 performance tables in the following categories: technical awards, technical certificate, stech levels, applied general qualifications, can be found at:

16 to 19 study programmes: advice on planning and provision: This departmental advice applies to the academic years 2015 to 2016 and 2016 to 2017. Departmental advice helps you understand how to comply with the law or explains what our policies mean in practice. You do not have to follow the advice which can be found at:

More disadvantaged children staying in education after 18: The proportion of A level or equivalent students who were eligible for free school meals (FSM) at school progressing on to a sustained place in education has improved by 4 percentage points since 2010. The official statistics can be found at:

School and college performance tables in England: 2014 to 2015: The latest performance tables report the results of students of sixth-form age in secondary schools and further education colleges in the academic year 2014 to 2015. They also show how these results compare with other schools and colleges in a local authority area and in England as a whole and can be found at:

September Guarantee: education and training for young people: Details of the September 2015 Guarantee, which requires local authorities to find education and training places for 16- and 17-year-olds have been published at:

Nicky Morgan speaks about tackling extremism: In this speech, Nicky Morgan sets out her views on tackling extremism in schools and launches the 'Educate Against Hate' website at:

Prime minister to announce new generation of mentors to help struggling teens: Christine Hodgson, Chair of Capgemini UK and the Careers and Enterprise Company, has agreed to lead a major campaign to encourage business people and professionals to volunteer to act as mentors to young teens at risk of dropping out of education or achieving less than they could. Further information at:

Professional Organisations

Education and Training Foundation

ETF launches Functional Skills Reform consultation: This consultation is to review maths and English Functional Skills qualifications with the aim of proposing new qualifications better suited to the needs of industry, practitioners and learners in post-16 education. It runs until 7 April 2016 and ETF intend to present a report to Ministers by the end of August 2016 with a view to reformed qualifications being ready to teach by September 2018. Further details can be found at: or the Pye Tait website at:

Study Programmes: Ofsted has judged that a ‘step change’ is needed in the implementation of study programmes; recent inspection reports continue to criticise colleges’ progress towards full implementation. The ETF is offering training and resources for governors, senior and middle managers and practitioners and details of support programmes can be found at:

FE workforce: what do we know and what is next?: The report summarises suggestions and recommendations made during the roundtable discussions of a seminar on better use and understanding of current workforce data. Further information at:

Ofsted and Ofqual

A nation divided: England is “a nation divided at the age of 11” Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector, Sir Michael Wilshaw said, launching his fourth Annual Report on schools and further education. His Report finds that more children are currently in good and outstanding schools than ever before with primary schools in particular excelling. However, the report notes that while secondary schools have improved slightly, underperforming secondary schools are concentrated in the North and Midlands. The report also finds that the achievement of pupils from low-income backgrounds remains an ongoing weakness. Further details at:

Ambitions for education: Sir Michael Wilshaw: Ofsted's Chief Inspector's speaks at CentreForum setting out his ambitions for education, including the need to improve vocational training. Further details at:

Ofqual: New GCSEs, AS and A levels accredited to be taught from 2016: An updated list of GCSEs, AS levels and A levels that Ofqual have accredited to be taught from September 2016 has been published at:

Exam timetables and religious events - JCQ statement: Clarification as to how the GCSE and A level timetable is set and the impact religious events have on it has been published at:

Can different GCSE and A level subjects be compared accurately?: Ofqual launches debate on inter-subject comparability and the level of difficulty of different subjects. Further information, relevant papers and an online survey (which closes on 4 March) can be found at: Research papers and reading can be found at:

Timeline of changes to GCSEs, AS and A levels: An overview of what changes will be made to GCSE, AS and A level qualifications between 2015 and 2019 has been published at:

Accreditation criterion: This document sets out the accreditation criterion Ofqual use to take decisions on accreditation for all qualifications which are subject to an accreditation requirement. It can be found at:

Infographic: Proposed changes to exam marking reviews and appeals: An infographic showing Ofqual's proposed changes to marking reviews and appeals for GCSE, AS and A level exams has been published at:

Skills Funding Agency (SFA)

Apprenticeship standards: An updated list of approved Apprenticeship Standards has been published at:

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

Toolkits to help support National Apprenticeship Week 2016: Information and suggestions for employers, apprentices, MPs, schools, colleges and training providers to help support NAW 2016 has been published at:

(Higher Education Funding Council for England)

Understanding professional doctorates: A review of professional doctorates, ‘Provision of professional doctorates in English HE institutions’ provides an overview of the current landscape of professional doctorates across higher education institutions in England. Over the last five years, the number of institutions and professional doctorate programmes has grown, in four main subject areas: education, business, psychology, and health and social care. The report recommends that sector bodies and institutions develop a more strategic basis for provision of professional doctorates. Furthermore, it reaffirms equivalence between professional doctorate and PhD qualifications, highlighting the importance of the research context and the impact requirements on professional practice. Further details at:,107351,en.html

The new Prevent duty: Monitoring framework for higher education providers: HEFCE has published a framework setting out how it will monitor compliance with the new Prevent duty in the higher education sector in England. Higher education providers will need to submit a self-assessment of their levels of preparedness in January, followed by more detailed information later the year. Further details at:,107224,en.html 


(West Midlands Centre for Excellence in Teacher Training)

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

Maths and English Pipeline Opportunities: There are places on the last few maths and English Pipeline opportunities still available including:
one-day maths resilience course at Henley College in Coventry on February 11
Teaching New GCSE Maths Specifications courses in Worcester on February 23 and March 14
Teaching New GCSE Maths Specifications courses in Dudley on February 26 and March 18

Further details at: English Pipeline courses are also still available, with information here:

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