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WMCOP Bulletin March 2016

Welcome to the March 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 the Midlands Engine Investment Fund was announced by the Government to enhance small business and research in the region. There were announcements on apprenticeships including: higher degree apprenticeship funding; how the apprenticeship levy will work and speeches on apprenticeships from National Apprenticeship Week from both Sajid Javid at BIS and Michael Wilshaw at Ofsted.

The Department for Education Strategy 2015-2020 has been published and Nicky Morgan has published an Education White Paper which includes new QTS regulations and criteria for schools ITT. Whilst in HE, Hefce has published a revised approach to assessment for HE and announced a new outreach programme for students from disadvantaged backgrounds.

WMCETT has won bids for a new Professional Exchange programme and Maths Pipeline 3, one day resilience courses.

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)

Full steam ahead for Midlands Engine, as Business Secretary confirms Budget support to drive growth for the region: The following was announced: Midlands Engine Investment Fund of over £250 million to invest in smaller businesses in the Midlands; government invests £14 million in STEAMhouse to convert former tea factory into creative innovation centre; this Budget drives forward the government’s vision for the Midlands Engine, including £16 million research and development (R&D) to support East Midlands aerospace firms and placing Midlands Connect on statutory footing by 2018. Further details at:

Funding to boost degree apprenticeship opportunities: £8 million will be focused on supporting universities to design and deliver new degree apprenticeships while a further £2 million will be devoted to encouraging more learners to choose degree apprenticeships. The fund will run for the next 2 years and the process for universities bidding for the funds will be announced in April 2016. Further details at:

Consultation: Further education maintenance loans (technical and professional education): Consultation ends June 2016. A Consultation on whether the introduction of Maintenance loans for higher-level learners in technical and professional education would increase take-up is open. Further details at:

Rise in Higher Apprenticeships: Figures from the FE and Skills Statistical First Release, March provisional figures show that more than 11,000 higher apprenticeships started between August 2015 and January 2016, bringing the total of higher apprenticeships for that period to 30,000. The figures also show that there are more young people starting apprenticeships, with over 84,000 starts by under 19 year olds between August 2015 to January 2016. The Press Release can be found at: and the Statistical Release is at:

National Apprenticeship Week launch speech: Business Secretary Sajid Javid launched apprenticeship week with a speech about apprenticeships, the levy, run through the Digital Apprenticeship Service, and the creation of the Institution of Apprenticeships to monitor quality. Details of his speech can be read at:

National Apprenticeship Week 2016: More than 30,000 new apprentice jobs were pledged during National Apprenticeship week. For Press Release see and for details of all the week's events see

Apprenticeship levy: how it will work: The apprenticeship levy will apply to all UK employers in both the private and public sectors who pay annual pay bills of more than £3 million. A document which explains who the levy affects, how much you will pay and what happens once the money has been paid has been published at:

Area reviews and reshaping the college sector: FE Commissioner letter (March): David Collins CBE, writes to all chairs and principals in the further education sector to share his thoughts on progress with the area review process. Further details at:

UK's first Innovation Audits 5 pilot areas: Greater Manchester, the Midlands and Edinburgh and the Lothians are among 5 areas set to take part in the first ever Science and Innovation Audits (SIAs). Designed to map out local research, innovation and infrastructure strengths, the audits will help identify and build on the region's potential. Further details at:

(Department for Education)

DfE strategy 2015 to 2020: world-class education and care: What the Department for Education is going to do - and why - across early years, children’s services, schools and 16-to-19 education over this Parliament. Further details at:

Initial teacher training: criteria for providers: Statutory guidance on the criteria that organisations must meet to provide initial teacher training (ITT) for QTS. Further details at:

16 to 19 academies: application process for sixth-form colleges: Information for sixth-form colleges considering becoming a 16 to 19 academy, has been published at:

University technical college applications: deadline set: The deadline for applications to establish a university technical college (UTC) is 7 October 2016. There are currently 39 UTCs open, with 20 more in development. UTCs are schools developed in partnership with universities and employers that prepare young people for careers in industries such as engineering and science. Further details at:

Nicky Morgan unveils new vision for the education system: The Education White Paper sets out a new teacher training accreditation system and the move to full acadamisation by 2020, mainly in multi-academy trusts. Further details at:

Educational excellence everywhere: letters from ministers: Letter from Nicky Morgan about the Schools White Paper, 'Educational Excellence Everywhere' which sets out the main points from the paper. Further details at:

The Education Secretary addresses the NASUWT teachers’ union conference: Nicky Morgan's speech to the NASUWT to discuss her white paper reforms can be read at:

Plan to make teaching a more flexible long-term career for women: Nicky Morgan has announced a new initiative to support female teachers returning to the classroom after a career break and increase the number of female headteachers. Further details at:

Professional News

 Education and Training Foundation

Key Issues for Education and Training: This report is based on three seminars run in 2015. The seminars and now the report share key insights into operational and strategic issues for the Further Education sector. It can be found at:

(Skills Funding Agency)

2016 to 2017 funding allocations: The Provider skills budget allocations have been published, including the new adult education budget at:

SFA funding rules: 2015 to 2016: March updates: Sets out the rules for providers who receive funding from the SFA to offer education and skills training for 2015 to 2016. It has been published at:

Adult education budget funding rules: A Guidance document sets out the funding rules for all providers in receipt of AEB at:

FE data library: vocational qualifications: March updates include a new version of vocational qualifications by level, Vocational Qualifications commentary and Awards of NVQs/SVQs, VRQs and QCF by gender, Level, age, sector subject area and geography. Details of the updates can be found at:

Apprenticeship Standards: March updates on new Standards can be found at:

(Higher Education Funding Council for England)

New national outreach programme for students from disadvantaged backgrounds: A new four-year outreach programme will help meet the Prime Minister’s challenging goal to double the participation of students from disadvantaged backgrounds entering higher education by 2020. Further details at:,107804,en.html

Revised approach to quality assessment in higher education: The revised approach to quality assessment is designed to be proportionate, risk-based and grounded in the mission and context of an individual university or college and the composition of its student body. It will target regulatory activity on those institutions that represent greater risk to the student interest or to the reputation of the sector. Further details at:,107736,en.html

Funding of £3.7 billion for higher education in 2016-17: Funding for recurrent research has increased by £20 million compared with 2015-16, while funding for knowledge exchange is maintained and funding for teaching has been reduced by £21 million. Within teaching, the total budget for high-cost subjects such as science, technology, engineering and mathematics will be maintained in real terms. There is also money for widening participation projects. Further details at:,107737,en.html

£1.7 million awarded to 28 projects to develop engineering and computer science conversion courses: A total of 28 projects, involving 32 universities and colleges, will receive £1.7 million to develop a range of engineering and computer science conversion courses. Further details at:,107716,en.html

HEFCE publishes latest key data for English higher education: This release, the first of a series of updates for 2015-16, features data on undergraduate education, postgraduate education and the HE workforce. It can be found at:,107670,en.html


Sir Michael Wilshaw speech: National Apprenticeship Week 2016: Michael Wilshaw talks about the achievements and challenges of apprenticeships at:

Monthly management information: Ofsted's further education and skills inspections outcomes from December 2015: Figures for February 2016 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:


Accreditation of GCSEs, AS & A levels for teaching from 2016: A table showing the latest status of subjects being accredited for teaching from September 2016 has been published at:

Timings for the withdrawal of legacy GCSEs, AS and A levels: Dates for last teaching, last exams and resits in legacy GCSEs, AS and A levels have been published at:

GCSEs (9 to 1): requirements and guidance: March updates have been published at:

New A level and AS level qualifications: requirements and guidance: A collection setting out rules, regulations and associated guidance for the new A level and standalone AS level qualifications that are being introduced in England has been published at:

Presentation on Functional Skills from The Skills Conference: Ian Pursglove, Ofqual’s Associate Director, Standards for Literacy and Numeracy Qualifications gave a presentation on ‘The Future of Functional Skills’ at the Skills Conference 2016. A copy of his presentation is available at:

(West Midlands Centre for Excellence in Teacher Training)

Professional Exchange: WMCETT has won a bid to establish the West Midlands Learning Consortium which will provide opportunities for colleagues across the FE and skills sectors to attend free CPD events to engage with their peers and recognised specialists in a range of subject areas, with the intention of leaving with plans which can lead to organisational change. So far, dates have been set for four of the eight planned events: at Loughborough College on Friday, April 22 (Keeping safe in the virtual world), Nova Training in Wolverhampton on Friday, May 20 (Special Educational Needs in work-based learning); Wednesday, June 8 at the University of Warwick (Special Educational Needs across the sector), Monday, June 13, Heart of Worcestershire College (FELTAG initiative). Further details from:

Maths Pipeline 3 Opportunities: WMCETT has won a bid for further Maths 1 day Resilience Courses and these will take place around the country between Easter and August 2016. More information here on the website.

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