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WMCOP Bulletin November 2015

Welcome to the November 2015 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 Chancellor's Autumn Statement and Spending Review and the implications for education is the main topic this month. Funding for core adult skills is protected, as is the base rate for 16-19 year olds; 5 National Colleges will be created and there is funding for STEM subjects in higher education. The increased number of apprenticeships is being funded by an employer levy. An overall saving of £2.4 billion in 2019 to 2020 will be achieved by switching HE maintenance grants to loans, asking universities to take more responsibility for student access, and finding £360 million in efficiencies and savings in adult skills.

The Government has also published details of the Apprenticeship Levy, freezing the Student Loan threshold and loans for Masters Degrees. The Green Paper on HE has been published for consultation and there are a number of Reports including the final evaluation of Apprenticeship Trailblazers.

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)

BIS Budget from the Chancellor's Spending Review 

The Autumn Review sets out the Government's priorities and spending for the next four years and for BIS the priorities are:
1) prioritising key growth and productivity objectives by protecting science resource funding in real terms, and maintaining Innovate UK support for businesses and funding for aerospace and automotive technologies in cash terms;
2) protecting funding for the core adult skills participations budgets in cash terms creating 5 National Colleges, and providing funding for a real terms protection for the overall STEM subjects in higher education (HE)
3) delivering 3 million high quality apprenticeships by 2020, compared to 2.4 million in the last Parliament and putting employers in control of funding through a new levy
4) an overall saving of £2.4 billion in 2019 to 2020, achieved by switching HE maintenance grants to loans, exempting Energy Intensive Industries (EIIs) from the costs of renewables policy rather than paying cash compensation, asking universities to take more responsibility for student access, and finding £360 million in efficiencies and savings in adult skills.

What this means: Investment:
Science funding protected, including a Global Challenges Fund which will also cover Nurse Review recommendations and the HE green paper consultation.
Aerospace and automotive technologies funded for 10 years with additional funding for innovation in these areas.
Apprenticeships funded, including a new employer Apprentice Levy.
Funding for the core adult skills participation budgets will be protected in cash terms
5 National Colleges will train an estimated 21,000 students by 2020 in industries central to the productivity agenda such as digital and high speed rail.

The government will provide new financial support through maintenance loans for part-time HE students
Tuition fee loans made available for higher level skills in Further Education and new loans for postgraduate Master’s degrees.

What this means: Efficiency and reform:
The government will make £360 million of efficiencies and savings from adult skills budget by 2019 to 2020
Colleges expected to benefit from extra funding on apprenticeship funding
The cap lifted on university student numbers to create expansion, especially for disadvantaged students
The teaching grant reduced by £120 million in cash terms by 2019 to 2020, but funding for high cost subjects to be protected in real terms.
Universities to take more responsibility for widening access and social mobility whilst Student Opportunity Fund halved
The government will also make savings in other areas of the teaching grant - unspecified.
Maintenance grants switched to loans and loan funding revised.
In order to prioritise funding for participation, savings are being made from the supporting budgets, such as the UK Commission for Employment and Skills

The Press Release setting out the main details of the Spending Review can be read at:

Some details:
Apprenticeship Levy - Employer owned Apprenticeship Training: Government Response: The Consultation on an employer levy for apprenticeship training received 711 responses. The majority of respondents were responding on behalf of an organisation and were employers who employed over 250 people. In response, the Government announced in the Spending Review, both the rate for the apprenticeship levy and its scope. The rate for the levy will be set at 0.5% of an employer’s pay bill and will be collected via PAYE. Employers will receive an allowance of £15,000. The effect of this allowance is that the levy will only be payable on pay bill in excess of £3,000,000 – employers with a pay bill less than £3,000,000 will not pay anything. The Report can be read at:

Post-graduate study: Student loans and other support: Following a Consultation, the Government is introducing a master’s loan scheme, whereby master’s students under 60 can access a loan of up to £10,000 as a contribution towards the cost of their study. The Government Response can be read at:

Freezing the Student Loan repayment threshold: Following a Consultation, the Government is implementing a repayment threshold freeze for all borrowers with post-2012 (‘Plan 2’) loans. The repayment threshold will be £21,000 at April 2016, and it will not be uplifted until at least April 2021, when the threshold will be reviewed. The ‘upper’ interest threshold of £41,000 will be frozen at the same time to ensure that variable interest rates applied for those earning between £21,000 and £41,000, remain unaltered. The Government Response can be read at:

Other News:
Area reviews and reshaping the college sector: FE Commissioner letter: Dr David Collins FE Commissioner, writes to all chairs and principals in the further education sector to share his thoughts on the area review process. His letter can be read at:

Foundation degree awarding powers: This document provides guidance for further education institutions (FEIs) seeking foundation degree awarding powers in England. Further details at:

A green paper 'Fulfilling our Potential: Teaching Excellence, Social Mobility and Student Choice': The Government has published a Green paper on higher education. The Consultation considers: the new Teaching Excellence Framework; widening participation and setting up a new Social Mobility Advisory Group; ways to establish new universities; and establishing a new Office for Students. The Consultation closes on 15 January 2016 and details are at:

Higher education: market entry guidance: Guidance on degree awarding powers, university title, designation for HEFCE funding and further education to higher education transfers can be found at:

Apprenticeship trailblazers evaluation: final report: This report provides a process evaluation of the apprenticeship trailblazers between January 2014 and March 2015. It follows the interim report, which was published in March 2015. The final report can be read at: 

Young people and their movement between education and work: This study investigates the ways in which young people’s movements between education and work have changed over the last 30 years. It provides information on long-term education and labour market trends affecting 16 to 24 year olds. Further details can be found at:

Graduates' attitudes: effect of higher education: This analysis looked at how people’s attitudes varied according to their level of education. In particular, it looked at whether graduates’ attitudes differed significantly from those with other educational qualifications. Further details at:

Socio-economic, ethnic and gender differences in higher education participation: This report examines to what extent the gaps in higher education participation across different groups of students is explained by prior education. The report looks at the participation of state school students from the 2008 GCSE cohort who entered higher education at age 18 or 19. It can be read at:

(Department for Education)

Religious studies GCSE judicial review: Government response: The Government has responded to a high court ruling on the new religious studies (RS) GCSE curriculum regarding the content of the RS GCSE. Details can be found at:

Chancellor's Spending and Autumn Review: The education budget was protected and the following priorities were in the Autumn Statement: Free childcare rises to 30 hours per week for 3 and 4 year olds, however there are work and salary requirements; investment over the Parliament for 500 new free schools and money for 500 schools to be rebuilt or refurbished. The current national base rate per student for 16- to 19-year-olds in England will be protected in cash terms over the Parliament. Sixth form colleges can now become academies. The Department does have to make £600 million savings from the education services grant and some targeted savings will be made from 16 to 19 funding, including from declining demographics and funding outside the national base rate per student. Further details at:

GCSE and A level reform: geology and politics, PE short course Consultation: This consultation closes on 15 December 2015. The proposals include revisions to: GCE AS and A level geology and politics and GCSE physical education (PE) short course. The Consultation details are at:
Ofqual are consulting on the assessment of these qualifications and the closing date is 4 January. Details of this consultation are at:

Schools ITT trainee number census - 2015 to 2016: Provisional recruitment to initial teacher training programmes in England in the academic year 2015 to 2016 statistics have been published at:

Professional Bodies


Education and Training Foundation

Future Apprenticeships Support Programme launched: A programme to help managers, teachers, trainers, leaders and those involved in governance to deliver the new apprenticeships system has been launched and delivery is led by the Association of Employment Learning Providers (AELP). Further details at:

WBL and ACL Workforce Surveys Launched: Both surveys are open until Friday 18 December and further information is at:

Foundation Offers Wider Support on Area Reviews: Area Reviews pose practical and educational challenges to the FE and Training system sector. As set out in the BIS guidance, the Education and Training Foundation will work with the sector’s workforce throughout the process, providing support and programmes that will benefit both leaders and practitioners. Further details at:

Ofsted and Ofqual

New GCSEs, AS and A levels accredited to be taught from 2016: An updated list of GCSEs, AS levels and A levels that Ofqual have accredited to be taught from September 2016 can be found at:

November GCSE and Level 1/Level 2 Certificates entries in England: The number of entries by subject for GCSE and Level 1/Level 2 certificates (also known as IGCSE) in November 2015 has been published. It shows an increase of 16% in the number of entries from 2014, mainly from students in year 12 or above. Further details can be found at:

The quality of exam marking: Ian Stockford's speech to the Association of Colleges Annual Conference on the quality of marking can be read at:

Entries and Late Entries for GCSE and A Level: 2014/15 Academic Year: Information on the number of entries and late entries in GCSE and AS/A level in England, Wales and Northern Ireland show there has been a 1.4% decrease in GCSE entries and a 2.2% decrease in A level entries for the 2014/15 academic year relative to 2013/14. Further details can be found at:

Types of regulated qualifications: The types (or descriptions) of regulated qualifications that you can apply to develop, deliver and award have been published at:

Ofsted examples of good practice in further education and skills: Examples of good practice in further education and skills providers inspected by Ofsted updated in November, can be found at:

Skills Funding Agency

SFA funding rules: 2015 to 2016: This document sets out the rules for providers who receive funding from the SFA to offer education and skills training for 2015 to 2016. Further details at:

2015 AoC conference: SFA presentation slides: The slides are taken from a presentation which explored how the funding systems are currently working and what is known about changes in the pipeline for 2016 and beyond. They can be accessed at:

SFA: European Social Fund (ESF) funding rates and formula: This document sets out the principles behind our funding system and describes the features of the funding system for the European Social Fund (ESF) budget for the 2015 to 2016 funding year. It can be read at:

SFA: advanced learner loans: Operational and policy information for colleges, training organisations and employers for advanced learner loans can be found at:

Apprenticeships: resources for teachers and advisers: A Teachers' Handbook and study material have been added to the apprenticeship resources at:

Apprenticeship standards ready for delivery: An updated list of all the apprenticeship standards approved by the SFA that are ready for employers and training organisations to use can be found at:

Apprenticeship standards in development: An updated list of all occupations approved by the Skills Funding Agency (SFA) to develop an apprenticeship standard can be found at:

Higher and degree apprenticeships: This Factsheet provides information for young people on the opportunities, progression and benefits of doing a higher or degree apprenticeship. It can be found at:

FE Choices: information for providers: FE choices provides comparable information to help learners and employers make informed choices about education and training. It has been updated for November at:

(Higher Education Funding Council for England)

Introduction of loans for masters students from 2016-17: The Government’s Autumn Statement confirms the availability of £10,000 loans for students under 60 wanting to take masters degrees from 2016-17. Alongside this, the UK higher education funding bodies have developed a website called Steps to postgraduate study to provide information for UK, EU and international students who are making decisions about going straight on to PGT study. Further details available at:,107221,en.html

Quality Assessment Review: The three higher education funding bodies in England, Wales and Northern Ireland have published an analysis of responses to their consultation on future approaches to quality assessment. Further details at:,107198,en.html

Student protection: A Statement of Good Practice on higher education course changes and closures has been published. The statement brings together good practice on how higher education providers need to work with their students when courses change or close, offering them alternative courses or arranging transfers where appropriate. Further details at:,107145,en.html


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

Maths and English Pipeline projects
These two projects, offering a lot of CPD opportunities, continue until the end of March. We apologise if you have experienced difficulty in accessing these courses but there are now more courses available so please keep checking for new courses in the Teaching New GCSE Maths Specifications section, and also the one-day and four-day maths resilience courses, as new dates/venues will be added soon. Further details at: English Pipeline courses are also still available, with information here:

GCSE Leadership and Governance project
There are still opportunities for work-based learning providers to get involved in this project, which aims to help senior leaders and directors with information, guidance and resources to help increase GCSE English and mathematics capacity in the post-16 sector, and English and math teaching strategies generally. You can find out more and register your interest at

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