Skip to main content

WMCOP Bulletin May 2016

Welcome to the May 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.

The Government has been busy this month! The Higher Education and Research Bill has been published making it easier for ‘challenger institutions’ to award their own degrees and the Teaching Excellence Framework a reality. There is also a new regulator for HE, the Office for Students which also brings together the 7 Research Councils into a single body and integrates Innovate UK into UK Research and Innovation (UKRI). Funding for 5 new colleges has also been announced to support high speed rail, nuclear, onshore oil and gas, digital skills and the creative industries and HE funding for 2016-2017 is also announced.

The drive for more apprentices continues with Lord Sugar announced as the enterprise tzar, a publicity campaign led by current apprentices, a taskforce for apprenticeships for those with learning disabilities and the Future Apprenticeships programme has a new website.

Reports on the benefits and returns of FE English and Maths qualifications, 16-18 level 1 and 2 maths and adult education prior learning have been published and there is a consultation for providers on functional skills on the ET Foundation site. The Coates Review into prison education has also been published.

Ofqual has published their decision on marking reviews, appeals, grade boundaries and Code of Practice and there are updates on the latest accreditations for qualifications.

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)

Higher Education and Research Bill: Following the Government's White Paper, "Success as a Knowledge Economy: Teaching Excellence, Social Mobility and Student Choice", the Government has now passed a Higher Education and Research Bill. The new legislation will enable the government to make it easier for ‘challenger institutions’ to award their own degrees, make data more available to students, introduce the Teaching Excellence Framework which links funding to teaching quality, establishes an Office for Students as the single regulator for the HE sector (replacing HEFCE's role), brings together the 7 Research Councils into a single body which also integrates Innovate UK. The Bill, announcements and summary factsheet can be accessed via

Teaching quality in higher education: literature review and qualitative research: A study reviewing existing literature on teaching quality in higher education and assessed student opinions has been published at:

John Kingman to lead creation of new £6 billion research and innovation body: As published in the HE and Research Bill, UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) will be established as a single, strategic body that will bring together the 7 Research Councils, Innovate UK and the research funding from HEFCE. Further details at:

Experts call for employers and universities to do more to address STEM skills shortages: A stronger focus on employment outcomes and more real-life work experience were among the recommendations from research into computer and STEM employment shortages. Further details at: For research see:

New universities to deliver choice and opportunity for students: As announced in the HE and Research Bill, the government will make it easier for ‘challenger institutions’ to award their own degrees and the plans will also give students more information about teaching standards and job prospects to help them make better informed decisions about what and where to study. Further details at:

Consultation: Accelerated courses and switching university or degree: BIS want to gauge demand from students for more switching between universities and degree courses. We also want to know more about demand for and barriers to, accelerated degrees. The Consultation closes on 19 July and is at:

Alternative providers of higher education: the market and students in 2014: Findings from research to better understand the market of alternative providers of higher education (excluding FE Colleges) and their students in 2014 have been published at:

Funding for creation of 5 new National Colleges: BIS announced details of nearly £80 million in funding to support the creation of 5 new National Colleges to support high speed rail, nuclear, onshore oil and gas, digital skills and the creative industries. Further details at:

Full network of 39 growth hubs boost business support across the country: Growth hubs work across the country with local and national, public and private sector partners - such as Chambers of Commerce, FSB, universities, Enterprise Zones and banks, co-ordinating local business support and connecting businesses to the right help for their needs. Further details at:

Lord Sugar appointed government’s enterprise tsar: Lord Sugar has been appointed enterprise tsar as part of government’s drive to get more young people to start their own business or an apprenticeship. Further details at:

Top apprentices to star in government campaign to get young people learning and earning: 13 apprentices were selected to be the stars of an apprenticeship advertising campaign. To celebrate the campaign, apprentices everywhere are being encouraged to share selfies and video clips of themselves at work on social media. Further details at:

Announcement of taskforce to look at improving accessibility of apprenticeships for people with learning disabilities: A new taskforce announced today will help more people with learning disabilities to access apprenticeships. Further information at:

Apprenticeships evaluation: employer and learner surveys 2015: This research monitors the extent to which apprenticeships are meeting the needs of employers and learners. It also identifies aspects of the programme that are under-performing. The employer survey can be found at: and the learner survey at:

Further education qualifications in maths and English: returns and benefits: Research analysing the economic benefits associated with further education qualifications in maths and English has been published at:

Prior qualifications of adults: Findings from three research areas into prior qualifications of adults have been published:
Prior qualifications of adults apprentices 2013 to 2014: can be found at:
Prior qualifications of adults taking maths and English courses 2013 to 2014: can be found at:
Prior qualifications of adults in further education classroom-based courses 2013 to 2014: can be found at:

Adult further education: measuring success - detailed proposals: The Government response to this Consultation can be found at:

Understanding skills mismatches in the economy: Research to improve understanding of the extent, nature and potential effect of skills mismatches in the economy has been published at:

Publicly funded training: impact on employers' productivity: Research looking at the links between training and firm productivity has been published at:

European Structural and Investment Funds programme guidance: Updated programme guidance documents for the European Regional Development Fund and European Social Fund can be found at:

(Department for Education)

Level 1 and 2 English and maths: 16 to 18 students, 2014 to 2015: Experimental statistics on level 1 and 2 English and maths by 16 to 18 students who failed to achieve A* to C by end of key stage 4 have been published at:

Keeping children safe in education: Update: Statutory guidance for schools and colleges on safeguarding children and safer recruitment has been updated. It can be read at:

Interim retention measure for school sixth forms: 2014 to 2015: Statistics on the proportion of courses completed at school and academy sixth-forms during the 2014 to 2015 academic year have been published at:

Alternative provision census 2017: guide: A Guide for local authorities and providers of alternative provision to help them submit alternative provision census 2017 data is available at:

Professional News

Education and Training Foundation

Grant letter for 2016-2017 published: The Education and Training Foundation today published its grant letter for 2016-2017, showing funding of just under £23m. It gave key themes in 2016-17 as: supporting individual and organisational effectiveness during structural change in the sector; CPD for maths and English, provider readiness for the new apprenticeship system, and leadership; expanding the Society for Education and Training and Offender learning.

Prison education workforce key to delivering excellence for prisoners: The ET Foundation welcomed the Coates Review into education in prisons as an historic opportunity for reform that will help prisoners’ rehabilitation, and benefit society as a whole. The review 'Unlocking Potential: A review of education in prison' by Dame Sally Coates can be read at:

Consultation: Providers’ views sought on Functional Skills: The latest stage of the Functional Skills Reform Programme has started with the opening of the Provider Survey. This survey is for teachers, trainers, leaders and managers to share their opinions on the future of Functional Skills. It is open until 24 June at:

New phase of the Future Apprenticeships programme: The Future Apprenticeships programme has been supporting providers to transition from frameworks to standards since the programme began in the latter part of 2015. A new portal has been launched and can be found at:


Apprenticeship and traineeship growth exercise: 2016 to 2017: Requests can now be submitted, as part of a targeted exercise for apprenticeships and traineeships growth for the 2016 to 2017 funding year. Further details at:

National achievement rates tables 2014 to 2015: Apprenticeship and education and training national achievement rates tables 2014-2015 have been published at:

SFA financial management: college accounts: May Update: This information allows FE colleges to compare their financial data with national totals and other colleges and organisations. Information for the academic year 2014-2015 has been published at:

Apprenticeship Standards: May Update: New apprenticeship standards developed by employers have been published at:

Removal of apprenticeship frameworks: May update: A second batch of 60 apprenticeship frameworks that will be withdrawn for new starts from 1 December 2016 has been published at:

Advanced learner loans qualifications catalogue: Lists of the qualifications available for an advanced learner loan up to 31 July 2017 have been published at:

Qualifications: eligibility for public funding: May update: New version of Legal Entitlements for 2016 to 2017 - Level 2 and level 3 qualifications has been published at:

New Skills Funding Service makes it easier for providers to manage their contracts: Providers can now use a new Skills Funding Service which allows quick access to view and accept contracts and payment information digitally. Further information at:


HEFCE to allocate £3.7 billion to 344 universities and colleges for 2016-17: Hefce allocation of funding for 2016-2017 has been published at:,108065,en.html

Universities and councils join forces to help communities: The Leading Places Project pilot involves leaders from universities and local authorities working together to help areas drive growth, re-design public services and strengthen the relationship between communities and academic institutions. Further information at:,108838,en.html


Sir Michael Wilshaw's speech to the TES Leadership conference: Michael Wilshaw talks about the need for maverick teachers and school leaders. His speech can be read at:

Ofsted strategic plan: 2016: This plan sets out Ofsted's strategic priorities from May 2016 onwards. It can be read at:

Ofsted’s equality objectives 2016 to 2020: This document identifies the objectives that Ofsted will focus on from 2016 to 2020 to improve equality, diversity and inclusion. It can be read at:


Consultation outcome: Marking reviews, appeals, grade boundaries and Code of Practice: Ofqual decisions following the Consultation can be found at:

Fairness at the heart of proposed changes to marking reviews and appeals system: Ofqual has announced how it will make the systems schools and colleges use to challenge GCSE, AS and A level results in England clearer, more consistent, and fairer for all students. This press release can be read at:

May Update: Accreditation of GCSEs, AS & A levels for teaching from 2016: The latest update can be found at:

Accreditation of GCSEs, AS & A levels for teaching from 2017: A table showing the status of subjects being accredited for teaching from September 2017 has been published at:

Reform of GCSE qualifications by Ofqual: This includes a table showing the status of subjects being accredited for teaching from September 2017. It can be found at:

Report to Parliament published: Ofqual has published its report to Parliament for the period 1 January 2015 to 31 December 2015. Further details at:



WMCETT (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. Dates have now been set and registrations are open at:

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

Skills Funding Agency: update: Update is the Skills Funding Agency’s weekly round-up of business-critical information and news for the further education sector. It is published at: