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WMCOP Bulletin November 2012

Welcome to the November 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.

This month funding has been agreed for the FE Guild, there are speeches by Matthew Hancock to the Association of Colleges setting out his 4 priorities: traineeships, apprenticeships, standards and qualifications and Vince Cable on the importance of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) and a number of reports into apprenticeships, adult learning and different perspectives on how education should change to meet local and employer needs. There are also changes to A levels, reform of Performance Tables and Michael Gove's speech supporting exams.

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)


Speech by Matthew Hancock to Association of Colleges (AoC) Conference: The Minister for Skills sets out his four priorities: traineeship, apprenticeships, standards, and qualification reform. In his speech he sets out plans to identify high quality vocational qualifications, increasing support for English and Maths, stronger Apprenticeships and new traineeships to help young people into a job. He also sets out plans for colleges to achieve Chartered Status, timescales for the FE Guild and Inspections with common standards applied across all post-16 providers. Read his speech at:

£400 million for English colleges: Vince Cable announced that the Government is investing £110 million, through the Skills Funding Agency, which will be more than matched with £302 million investment from 56 English colleges to upgrade facilities and resources. The projects range from the launch of a state-of-the-art civil engineering academy, to transforming classrooms into vocational workshops and the funding is the third phase of the Enhanced Renewal Grant (ERG3). More information at

Employer Ownership Pilot (EOP): Businesses across the country can now bid for a share of a £150 million pot to create the training schemes they need to grow their companies in the second round of the Employer Ownership Pilot (EOP). This fund is already giving nearly £70 million to companies including Nissan, Whitbread and GE Aviation, with projects ranging from extending skills training to local suppliers, to doubling the number of female apprentices. Further details at:

Speech by Vince Cable to the CBI Conference: Sets out the Government's strategies for supporting education and innovation in science, technology and engineering and the initiatives which are helping to achieve this, at:

'Tracking the Decision-making of High Achieving Higher Education Applicants' Report: New research from UCAS surveyed over 13,000 students to look at the reasons for the university choices made by young people who gained at least three Bs at A level. The findings show that course and course content were the first considerations then high achievers chose by differences in their behaviours/beliefs. Read it at:

Research from NIACE into the benefits of adult education: Research commissioned by BIS shows how people taking adult learning courses would rate their boost in happiness in terms of money. Using data from the British Household Panel Survey, it concluded that one course would improve life satisfaction in the same way as a pay rise of around £750. The other studies looked into areas including the relationship between adult learning and wellbeing, the contribution of basic skills on health in adults and the impact of learning on the wellbeing of older people. See report 'Valuing adult learning: comparing wellbeing valuation and contingent valuation' at: and press release at:

BIS Inquiry into Apprenticeships: The report's recommendations fall under five headings: better definition and positioning; work with schools; quality improvement; value for money; and the inevitable system simplification. Reports can be read at:

Lord Heseltine's Report ‘No Stone Unturned in Pursuit of Growth’: The Report supports localism and Local Enterprise Council's managing local needs and provision. The Report also comes up with 14 separate recommendations covering schools, FE, HE and immigration policy. Broadly, education is seen as the critical ingredient for “growth and prosperity” but provision needs to be more aligned to need, both individual and economic. Read the Report at:

Innovation Code: Revised guidance published by the Skills Funding Agency: the Innovation Code allows a college or training organisation to deliver the provision that is needed in their area, without having to wait for a new qualification to be developed and revised guidance on its use can be found at:

DfE (Department for Education)

Ofqual announced A Level Changes: Ofqual has announced that from September 2013 students in England will no longer be able to sit A level exams in January and from next September, students will only be able to sit AS and A level exams in the summer. This change is the first phase of proposed wider A level reforms. For further details see:

Highest quality of graduates going into Teacher Training: The data from the Teaching Agency reveals that 71 per cent of graduates choosing to train for a career in the classroom now have a 2:1 or higher. This is a record rise of six percentage points compared to last year. The quality of trainee teachers has improved in all the key English Baccalaureate subjects – including maths, physics, chemistry and modern foreign languages, with an overall 66 per cent of those entering teacher training in these shortage subjects now have a 2:1 or higher degree classification. More details at:

Speech by Michael Gove to the Independent Academies Association (IAA): In a major speech Michael Gove set out his arguments about the importance of exams, using eight propositions to demonstrate that they matter. Read the speech at:

Reform of Performance Tables for 14-16 year olds: The 2014 list updates the one published by the Department on 31 January. It includes 15 additional qualifications that have been accredited by Ofqual and found to meet the requirements set out in the technical guidance published on 27 October. The list for 2014 can be found at: and the 2015 list is at:

LSIS and IfL

FE Guild: Funding has now been agreed for the FE Guild to develop its plans and clarify how the guild will work and the scope of its activities. The FE Guild is the partnership led by the Association of Colleges (AoC) and the Association of Employment and Learning Providers (AELP), of which LSIS is a partner, and the development of the guild will have an impact on LSIS. The detail will be worked through over the coming months and it is anticipated that there will be a consultation about the guild with the sector in the New Year, which will clarify the implications for LSIS, with the aim of implementation of the transition by August 2013. Further details at:

The Institute for Learning (IfL) has also welcomed welcomed the new further education Guild and is pleased to be a key partner in the proposal led by the Association of Colleges (AoC) and the Association of Employment and Learning Providers (AELP) to run the new Guild. Their statement IfL Moving Forward can be read at:

Supplement to support improvement: LSIS has joined forces with FE Week to produce a supplement about Supporting Improvement. The special publication explores themes linked to supporting improvement, and contains articles from leading figures from across the FE and Skills sector and it can be read at:




Policy Watch: Published by The Pearson Centre, it comments on the latest initiatives and can be read at: Topics this month include:
10 headline announcements for the FE Sector
Performance Tables update
First Steps in A level reform
'In praise of tests' - Michael Gove's speech
'First Steps' the CBIs school report
BIS Report on its inquiry into apprenticeships
Lord Heseltine leaves no stone unturned
Doing the Maths

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