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WMCOP Bulletin November/December 2014

Welcome to the November 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.

This month sees the Chancellor's Autumn Statement announcing loans for postgraduate masters, funding for science projects and the removal of National Insurance contributions on apprentices under 25. There are also announcements by BIS that NEET numbers are down, the launch of new digital qualifications, a new vocational database, similar to UKAS and the Further Education Commissioner has issued his first report.

The Department for Education has speeches looking at 'Character education', mental health in schools and SEN. They have also published the National Curriculum content for science at key stage 4 and the revised 'A' level and GCSE content for religious studies is in consultation.

The Education and Training Foundation is working with employers on the content for maths and English qualifications and is consulting on Professional Membership whilst the Skills Funding Agency has published a number of statistical reports on FE, Apprenticeships, vocational education, traineeships and Skills for Life.

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)

Autumn Statement 2014: The Chancellor has presented the Autumn Statement to Parliament. Of particular interest are the announcements of loans for postgraduate masters and that there will be no more employer National Insurance contributions (NICs) on apprentices under 25. £235 million will also go on a new science research centre in Manchester and £20 million will go towards a research centre on ageing, in Newcastle. A summary of what was announced can be read at:

NEET numbers down for July-September 2014
: The number of young people not in employment, education or training has fallen for the third quarter of 2014. Figures against 2013 show 16- to 24-year-olds who were NEET had fallen by 2.2 percentage points to 15.4%, 19- to 24-year-olds who were NEET had fallen by 2.4 percentage points to 17.6%, and 16- to 18-year-olds who were NEET had fallen by 1.6 percentage points to 10.6%. The quarterly statistics can be found at:

Traineeships: Funding reform in England: Following a Consultation, BIS has said from 2015 to 2016 it will improve and make better use of destination and progression data; improve definitions of: apprenticeship, sustainable employment and further learning and make further learning of 19 to 24 year olds an acceptable funding commitment, as is the case for 16 to 18 year olds. This will be carried out within the existing funding systems and keeping the core elements of traineeships. Details of the outcome of the Consultation can be found at:

New Digital qualifications launched: New digital apprenticeship degrees have been announced by BIS, together with a range of short industry-accredited digital qualifications. The new programme includes a fully-integrated degree testing both academic learning and on-the-job practical training, and has been co-created by leading tech employers and top universities. Further details at:

Further Education Commissioner's First Report: David Collins, the FE Commissioner, has published his first annual report: The role of the FE Commissioner is to intervene when an FE institution is considered inadequate. Eleven colleges were referred between 1 August 2013 and 31 July 2014 and the Commissioner uses lessons learned from these institutions to consider the wider issues they raise. His report can be read at:

12 Social Mobility Business Compact 'Champions' announced: The Champions are signatories of the Social Mobility Business Compact, which was set up in 2011, to encourage employers to offer young people fair and open access to employment opportunities. Since the launch of the Compact, 10 government departments have also committed to adhering to the criteria for the next year. Further details at:

Vocational skills and training database: Nick Clegg has announced the setting up of a national database, similar to UCAS, to provide information on post-16 skills and employer-led courses and opportunities in England. Further details can be found at:

Shared Parental Leave comes into force: The new regulations, which apply to couples with babies due or children matched or placed for adoption on or after 5 April 2015, will allow parents to choose whether they want to share the mother’s maternity leave. Further details at:

DfE (Department for Education)

National Curriculum key stage 4 Science: The revised programme of study for KS4 science content is closely aligned to the GCSE combined science content. It will come into effect from September 2016 in line with the science GCSE. The revision of the National Curriculum Framework is now complete. The majority of the new national curriculum came into force from September 2014. The new national curriculum for English, mathematics and science for years 2 and 6 will come into force from September 2015; the new curriculum for English and mathematics for key stage 4 will be phased in from September 2015 and that for key stage 4 science from September 2016, alongside first teaching of the new GCSEs for these subjects. Details of the National Curriculum Framework can be found at:

New Religious Studies A level and GCSE consultation: The revised GCSE content ensures students study at least two religions and then one in more depth. Both the A level and GCSE consultations can be found at:

Speech by Nicky Morgan on the vision for education: A speech by Nicky Morgan at the University of Birmingham sets out the Government's latest vision for 'character education' and what that means. The speech can be read at:

Initial Teacher Training (ITT) Census - Schools: The annual ITT census shows that 1 in 6 teacher trainees (17%) starting this academic year now holds a first-class degree, with over two-thirds (73%) holding a 2:1 or better. The census can be found at:

Education Minister Sam Gyimah's press release on mental health: The publication covers issues of mental health and the measures the Government is taking including teaching pupils about mental health, issuing a blueprint for counselling services and funding mental health projects. The announcement can be read at:

Nicky Morgan talks on closing the skills gap: A speech in America on closing the skills gap covers: increasing the number of young people studying the key science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM), subjects; attracting and developing more STEM teachers; increasing the rigour and responsiveness of vocational qualifications; creating strong links between schools and employers to open young people’s minds to the opportunities available and boost their employability skills; improving the quality of apprenticeships as an alternative to university study. The speech can be read at:

Children's Minister Edward Timpson on SEN: A speech by Edward Timpson summarises the Government's SEN initiatives: Linking NHS, Child support and schools' provision; providing specialist resources for ITT and new advanced-level online modules on areas including autism, and speech and language needs; funding SENCOs through the masters-level National Award for SEN co-ordination; funding independent supporters in every local authority to help parents and through the personal budget. His speech can be read at:

Professional Bodies

Education and Training Foundation

Foundation Professional Membership Consultation: The Foundation is running an online consultation about professional membership services, following the transfer of IfL membership to the Foundation in November. The Foundation want to support professional CPD and maintain QTLS. Further details at:

Work with employers on maths and English skills: The Education and Training Foundation is working with employers to review of the best way to achieve and accredit maths and English skills for those not taking GCSEs. The Foundation will work with all interested parties, with a view to producing preliminary recommendations by Spring 2015. Further details at:

Foundation and Jisc work to deliver FELTAG recommendations: The Foundation and Jisc will work together to deliver the recommendations of the FELTAG (further education learning and technology action group) report. They will focus on: developing the technology capabilities of leaders, managers and governors; helping providers and practitioners to create better digital content; engaging employers so as to improve access to cutting edge industry-standard technologies and providing support and combining the networks and contacts of both organisations to ensure maximum audience reach. Further details can be found at:


Transforming Vocational Education: In a speech to the CBI, Michael Wilshaw, Chief Inspector of Ofsted, set out 4 priorities for vocational education and called on employers to participate more fully. The priorities are: Apprenticeships must have parity of esteem with A levels; the quality of careers information and guidance must be raised substantially; high quality vocational education must be readily available and should be seen as a valid option for every student; employer engagement must be at the forefront of any reform and vocational training must give a clear line of sight to work. His speech can be read at:


The Student Engagement Partnership: Funding is being provided for the Student Engagement Partnership which provides a central resource for practitioners and institutions, and coordinates the sharing of knowledge relating to student engagement at a national level. TSEP is housed and managed by the National Union of Students. More information is at:

'SEE Change' Programme: HEFCE and UnLtd are funding a total of 24 partnerships, involving 18 HEIs and 47 other partners to build a system of support for social entrepreneurs through the ‘SEE Change’ (Social Entrepreneurship in Education) programme. This is the latest phase of an ongoing five-year collaboration which has already led to the creation of 1,500 new social ventures across 100 universities up and down the country. Further details at:

SfA (Skills Funding Agency)

Further Education and Skills: Statistical First Release: Success rates for 2012 to 2013 and final further education and skills data for the full 2013 to 2014 academic year can be found at:

FE Data Library: Apprenticeship Vacancies: This statistical data set provides information through a number of reports on the number of apprenticeship vacancies and traineeship opportunities for 2008/09 to 2014/15 year-to-date. It can be found at:

FE Data Library: FE and skills: Information on learners, learning programmes and learner achievement published in December can be found at:

FE Data Library: Skills for Life: Information on skills for life qualifications by participation and achievements can be found at:

FE Data Library: Vocational Qualifications: Information on vocational qualifications can be found at:

FE Data Library: Other Statistics: Other statistics published alongside the first release which include: Traineeships; Apprenticeships quality; Apprenticeship duration; Unemployed learners; 24+Advanced Learning Loans: Application Data Publication; International Comparisons Supplementary Tables; STEM and Train to Gain can be found at:

Qualifications approved for public funding: Updated information on approved qualifications can be found 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:
Pocket Watch - this skills business
Policy Tracker - Keeping track of what happened in the world of education in November 2014
Pocket Watch - Vocational educational reform (by numbers)
Pocket Watch - Counting the Cost
Pocket Watch - All for the love of teaching?
Pocket Watch - Devo-Max gathers pace
Policy Tracker - Keeping track of what happened in the world of education in October 2014

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 can be read at: