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WMCOP Bulletin March 2014

Welcome to the March 2014 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.

In a month in which there is both the Chancellor's Budget and National Apprenticeship week, it is unsurprising that this month's Bulletin contains a lot about apprenticeships. The first Trailblazer Standards, developed by employers in specific industries, have been published and the second Trailblazer initiative has been announced covering a much greater number of sectors. Apprenticeships at degree and postgraduate level are being developed in different sectors, including nursing and the Apprenticeship Grant for Employers has been extended.

Other news this month is the creation of a new Data Science research institute, three new National science projects receiving funding, the Higher Education Student Support 2015-16 has been announced, HEFCE has published a report on university and college finances and the minimum wage is to rise in October. However, over 5,000 vocational qualifications have been axed.

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

BIS (Department for Business, Innovation and Skills)

Government axes 5,000 adult vocational qualifications: The government has published its Reform Plan 'Getting the job done: the Government's reform plan for vocational qualifications'. This reduces the number of available qualifications by more than 5,000 and aims to make the system respond to employers’ needs and fund routes either to employment or further training. Further details at: The Report is at:

New Apprenticeship Trailblazer standards published: The first new apprenticeship standards designed by employers in the sectors of Aerospace, Automotive, Digital Industries, Electrotechnical, Energy and Utilities, Financial Services, Food and Drink Manufacturing and Life Sciences and Industrial Sciences have been published at:

New Trailblazer standards being developed: The second Trailblazer standards being developed are included in the 'Updated Guidance to the Future of Apprenticeships in England' and are in: accountancy, actuarial, adult social care, airworthiness, automotive retail, aviation, butchery, cinema industry, civil service, construction, conveyancing, craft, dental health, early years, emerging technologies, hair and beauty, horticulture, hospitality and tourism, housing, insurance, land-based engineering, law, maritime, newspaper and broadcast media, nursing, property services, rail design, retail and travel. The Guidance can be read at: See also Matthew Hancock's speech at:

Apprenticeships in Nursing: A trailblazer group are developing a degree level apprenticeship targeted at healthcare assistants. Further details at:

National Apprenticeship Week: Over 20,000 new apprenticeships were pledged by employers during National Apprenticeship week and new Traineeships were also announced including a Parliamentary traineeship. Details at:

Chancellor's Budget Statement: There were new funding packages for apprenticeships in the budget including:
Apprenticeship Grant for Employers (AGE): Extra funding for the AGE scheme for 2014-15 and a focus on small businesses in 2015-16. Further details at:
Degree and Postgraduate Apprenticeships: £20 million has been allocated to funding degree and postgraduate apprenticeships. Further details are at:
Data Science Research Institute: A data science research institute is to be created with £42million in memory of Alan Turing to enable research into big data which brings together theory and practical application. Further details at:

Higher Education Student Support 2015-16: David Willetts has announced the student finance package for 2015-16 including the cost of tuition charges and loans, maintenance grant, loans for living costs, Dependants' grants, part-time grants and loans, income thresholds and disabled students' allowances. Further details at:

FE Governors Recognised: The work of governors in the FE sector was recognised in a speech by Matthew Hancock which can be read at:

Children and Families Act 2014: This Act has now gain Royal assent. It changes the law regarding adoption, family justice, special educational needs, childcare reform, welfare of children, Children's Commissioner, Statutory rights to leave and pay, time off work-antenatal care etc and the right to request flexible working. Details at: The Act can be read at:

Cyber-security skills: A Government Report 'Cyber security skills: business perspectives and Government's next steps' includes plans to provide training for teachers to enable them to teach pupils about cyber security. Support will also be offered to universities that devise innovative proposals to improve cyber security teaching and a new internship scheme. Details at: The Report can be read at:

National Minimum Wage to rise from October 2014: From 1 October the Government has agreed a rise in the national minimum wage to £6.50 for adults, £5.13 for 18-20 year olds, £3.79 for 16-17 year olds and £2.73 for apprentices. Further details at:

New investments in UK Science: David Willetts announced around £285 million of investment in 3 world class science projects. The projects are: PLATO, a new planet-hunting satellite, the Square Kilometre array (telescope) and partnership in Europe’s new Spallation Source (microscope). The aim is to make Britain Further details of his speech at:

New Chair for National Apprenticeship Ambassadors Network: David Mellor has been appointed Chair for this network of businesses who promote apprenticeships within industry. More details at:

DfE (Department for Education)

Consultation on Research Priorities: The DfE has asked for feedback on its research priorities across its priority areas including: Academies; assessment curriculum and qualifications; free schools, UTCs and studio schools; special educational needs and disability and teachers and teaching. The full list of areas and links to the research priorities and questions can be found at:

Michael Gove on the future of vocational education: Speech by Michael Gove at the McLaren Technology Centre setting out his vision for vocational education can be read at:

Guidance on female genital mutilation: The DfE has issued guidance to schools on FGM to enable teachers and other staff working with young people to keep children safe. Details at:

Professional Bodies

Education and Training Foundation

Call for pilot centres for English GCSE enhancement schemes: The Foundation has been working with strategic partners to develop a model to support the professional development of those FE and skills practitioners who will be required to teach GCSE English as part of the study programmes. Three models have been developed and the Foundation will be looking for providers to take part in a wider pilot scheme, to run from April to July. Further details are at:

Learning technology support programme: The Foundation has launched a £1m invitation to tender for a Learning Technology Support Programme. This been developed to respond to the FELTAG recommendations and further details can be found at: The Foundation is also preparing to launch a second technology related tender to embed a learning technologies self-assessment tool, details of which are also on the above link.

Paul Mullins speech at the Ministerial Recognition event for Chairs of FE and Sixth Form Colleges: The speech sets out the Foundation's workforce incentives and the need for a step change in employer partnerships and can be read at:

IfL (Institute for Learning)

Support for Prison Educators: The IfL and the Prisoner Learning Alliance (PLA) have welcomed a new report from the University and College Union (UCU) outlining research it conducted with the Institute of Education (IOE) into prison education, and agree with calls for better support for prison education and more stability in the system. Details can be found at:

IfL calls for diversity commission for teaching and training staff in further education: IfL is calling for an independent commission to look at improving diversity in teaching and training across further education and skills to improve the gender balance in perceived 'female' and 'male' industries. Further details at:

HEFCE (Higher Education Council for England)

Review of University and College Finances: HEFCE has published a report 'Financial health of the higher education sector: 2012-13 financial results and 2013-14 forecasts’ which suggests they might be significant future financial challenges for the higher education sector. Details at: The Report is at:

Universities to make financial information more visible for students: HEFCE has provided guidance for providers of higher education on how to present income and expenditure information drawn from their summary financial statements on their web-sites in a clear and simple way that is useful and accessible to students. More details at:

SFA (Skills Funding Agency)

Data Collections Software Development: The SFA is taking an agile approach to developing and delivering the data collections systems required for the funding year 2014 to 2015. Details at:


Sector News

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

Policy Watch

Policy Watch: Published by The Pearson Centre, it comments on the latest initiatives and can be read at: Topics this month include:
Budget bits for education and skills
Labour plans for 14-19 education
Taking the National Numeracy Challenge
Top ten headlines for National Apprenticeship Week
The Government's reform plan for voc quals
More PISA lessons
Keeping track of the world of education in February