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WMCOP Bulletin March/April 2013

Welcome to the March edition of our Community of Practitioners' Bulletin - your link to what's been happening in Teacher Education in the Lifelong Learning Sector in the last month.

I hope you had a good Easter break as a lot has happened over the last month!

The new Teaching and Training Qualifications guidance for 2013 has just been published which confirms the Award, Certificate and Diploma with mandatory and optional units and the employer's right to decide the appropriate qualifications for their staff.

The final report from the Independent Commission on Adult Vocational Teaching and Learning 'It's about work...' has been published which makes 10 recommendations including greater collaboration and a clear line of sight to work.

The Government has published a new skills strategy 'Rigour and Responsiveness in Skills' which identifies 6 key reform areas as Raising Standards, Reforming Apprenticeships, Creating Traineeships, Meaningful Qualifications, Funding improving responsiveness and Better information and data.

Then there is the Budget, the Government's response to the Richard review, post-graduate apprenticeships starting this year, league tables no longer including some vocational qualifications and priorities and funding for 2013-14 together with a streamlined system.

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


BIS (Department for Business, Innovation and Skills)


New Skills Strategy: BIS has published a new skills strategy 'Rigour and Responsiveness in Skills' which builds on previous reforms as well as the Wolf, Richards and Hesseltine reports. There are 6 identified reform areas: Raising standards covers the professionalism of the FE sector with the FE Guild and 'Chartered Status' but also introduces a more robust intervention regime with a new 'Administered College' status and an FE Commissioner to oversee the intervention process and more empowered customers; Reforming Apprenticeships by supporting the model of employer ownership set out in the response to the Richard Review; Creating Traineeships by new programmes which have high employer involvement and focus on work preparation; Meaningful qualifications which simplifies the qualification system and only funds vocational qualifications which are considered rigorous and demonstrate strong employer input; Funding improving responsiveness focussing on added value, loans and direct employer funding; Better information and data through new market intelligence, a monthly scorecard and improved course information. The report can be read at:

Budget: Key areas of the Budget for business and skills are support for small businesses with business advice, StartUp loans for 18-30 year olds and an independent review by Sir Andrew Witty into how universities can support growth by working with Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs). Details on the BIS website at:

Government response to the Richard Review: The Government has endorsed the Richards review's recommendations for reform, in particular to place control of apprenticeships more firmly in the hands of employers and ensure that all apprenticeships are rigorous and responsive to employers’ needs. The government has launched a consultation and invites contributions by 22 May 2013. Details at:

We will carefully consider responses over the summer and will confirm our future approach and implementation plan in autumn 2013.

First Post-Graduate Apprenticeships start this year: The first graduate level Higher Apprenticeships in advanced manufacturing, commercial airline piloting and professional development for work based learning practitioners from employers including BAE Systems and British Airways expect to recruit their new graduate apprentices this year. In addition, a new framework for the first post-graduate level Higher Apprenticeship in Professional Services has been approved opening up opportunities for employers to recruit and train in accountancy, auditing and tax. Changes have been made to the standard (the Specification of Apprentices Standards for England - SASE) to include level six and seven apprenticeships – equivalent to bachelors and masters degrees. These changes will come into effect on 6 April 2013. Further details at:

Government Apprenticeship Ambassadors appointed: Two new government apprenticeship ambassadors have been appointed. Gordon Birtwhistle MP becomes Apprenticeship Ambassador to Business and Andrew Jones MP, Apprenticeship Ambassador to Parliament. Their role is increasing the number, quality and impact of apprenticeships in England. Details at:

Alternative higher education providers will remain outside student number controls in 2013/14: BIS has announced that alternative higher education providers will remain outside student number controls in 2013/14 to ensure a more diverse higher education sector and protect student choice. Details of the announcement are at:

Designation system: In the past six months, two higher education institutions not funded by HEFCE have been given permission to become universities: the College of Law / the University of Law and Regent’s College / Regent’s University London. Designations are now closed for 2012/13. See

University access for those from disadvantaged backgrounds: An interim report 'National strategy for access and student success' has suggested that universities should reach out to children in primary schools to increase the numbers of people from disadvantaged backgrounds accessing higher education. The report can be found at:,78843,en.html

National Careers Service: A new mobile version of the National Careers Service website is now available online via any mobile or tablet device. Details at:


DfE (Department for Education)


Courses dropped from League Tables: Thousands of vocational courses which do not on their own lead to jobs, further study or university could be dropped from college and school sixth-form performance tables as part of reforms to raise education standards. The reforms are outlined in a consultation and would be phased in from 2014. Young people aged 16 to 19 would still be able to take any qualification accredited for use by Ofqual, even if they are dropped from the tables. Further details at:

Schools: National College for Teaching and Leadership: The merged Teaching Agency and National College will be known as the National College for Teaching and Leadership, Michael Gove has announced. The National College for Teaching and Leadership is a single agency focused on promoting high-quality teaching and school leadership. Its remit will also include continuous professional and leadership development and supporting school improvement. Details at:

Revised Safeguarding Guidance: Revised guidance published today by the Government clarifies the responsibilities of professionals towards safeguarding children, and strengthens the focus away from processes and onto the needs of the child. In response to recommendations from Professor Eileen Munro’s report, it sets out, in one place, the legal requirements that health services, social workers, police, schools and other organisations that work with children, must follow. The guidance will come into effect from 15 April 2013. Details can be found at:

University Technical Colleges: 13 new University Technical Colleges are set to open from September 2014 – backed by more than 140 major employers and universities. Catering for more than 8000 young people who will be taught core GCSEs alongside vocational qualifications, they will join the 27 that are already preparing to open and five currently open. Together they will allow around 27,500 students to train as the engineers, scientists and technicians of the future. Further details at:

'Building Evidence into Education' Ben Goldacre: This report compares medicine evidence-based research with education and suggests there is a need for better evidence-based research in education. The report is at:


Teaching and Training Qualifications for the further education and skills sector in England (2013): Following the review of FE Teacher qualifications LSIS have now published a guidance document which explains the changes to the qualifications and regulations for teachers. After September 2013 it will be up to employers to determine which qualification is suitable for their staff from the Level 3 Award in Education and Training (12 credits), The level 4 Certificate in Education and Training (36 credits), The level 5 Diploma in Education and Training (120 credits) or one of the Level 5 specialist diplomas. Details can be found at:

Excellent adult vocational teaching and learning: The independent Commission on Adult Vocational Teaching and Learning has published its final report although it intends to publish the case studies that have influenced the recommendations in a supplementary paper. The Commission concludes that the best provision is collaborative in nature, a two-way street between providers and employers and has a clear line of sight to work. It also suggests 3 other characteristics - dual professionalism, access to industry-standard facilities and resources and clear escalators to higher level vocational learning make up good vocational learning. The Report also stresses the importance of vocational pedagogy and enabling factors. There are 10 recommendations together with proposals for who should take each forward. The report can be read at:


Government Bodies

Skills Funding Agency: 
Priorities and Funding 2013-14: A letter from Vince Cable which sets out the SFA priorities and funding can be read at:

Performance Management Q2 Update: Contract values have been increased so that all providers are funded at the higher rates for functional English and Maths qualifications and they have covered higher level apprenticeships supported by employers. Details at:

New Streamlined Funding System: A new funding system has been published and can be seen at:

2013-14 Final Funding Statements: These have been sent to providers, details at:

HEFCE Allocation to Universities and Colleges 2013-14:
£4.47 billion will be allocated to 129 universities and higher education colleges and 203 further education colleges for 2013-14. Details can be found at:

A HEFCE Report: 'Challenges and opportunities: Impact of the higher education reforms on students, universities and colleges' gives the first comprehensive analysis of the impact of the 2012 funding changes. Read it at:

Efficiency Exchange: A new website has been set up for higher education professionals to share ways to deliver greater efficiency. It can be seen at:

Local Accountability and Autonomy in Colleges:
This survey reviewed how well colleges have responded to the government’s policy to give colleges more freedom to tailor their curriculum to meet local and community needs. The report also gives examples of good practice. It can be read at:

IfL (Institute for Learning)

Review of Teachers Professional Development 2011-12: This review is based on evidence from more than 40,000 teachers and trainers who declared their CPD for the year ended 31 August 2012. The declarations showed a similar pattern to previous years: there was almost an equal split between activities based around teaching and learning and those based around vocational or subject specialism; the average number of hours declared was 53; and 68 per cent of respondents said they had shared their professional development with colleagues and employers. The review can be read at: IfL review of CPD: Making professional learning work (IfL members only)

Research on effective teaching of functional skills in apprenticeships: The Report can be read at: research to inform the work of CAVTL




Policy Watch: Published by The Pearson Centre, it comments on the latest initiatives and can be read at: . Topics this month include:
What makes for excellent teaching and learning?
FE Reform programme moves up a gear
Keeping track of what happened in the world of education in March 2013
Anything in the Budget for education?
How are the HE Reforms working?
Local skills planning edges closer
Government response to the Richard Apprenticeship review
What have we learned from this year's National Apprenticeship Week?
Held to account: making sense of the latest accountability announcements

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