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WMCOP Bulletin September 2017

Welcome to the September 2017 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.

A new academic year has arrived! The news this month has focussed on looking back over achievements last year and looking at lessons learned. There is a new consultation on functional skills from the DfE, although FE Week has some comments on that! Good news on GCSE and A levels with an increase in post-16 achievement in GCSEs. Ofsted has revised the FE Inspection Handbook and Ofqual has published updated lists of qualifications for teaching in 2017 and 2018 and GCSE and A level 'postcards'.

The Institute for Apprenticeships has announced Open Awards as its external quality assurance partner, there is information on apprenticeship starts and participation and a Policy paper on the success measures against objectives for apprenticeship reform published.

Jo Johnson has set out the Government's vision for Higher Education, looking at accountability and quality assurance, student contracts and accelerated degrees. The Teaching Excellence Framework evaluation has recognised that whilst fair and transparent, there are additional requirements. The ETF has published a report into the impact of HE in FE on widening participation.

On the CPD front, the next QTLS window is now open, the ETF have modules on Prevent and digital skills and WMCETT has Maths resiliance 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 Education

Maths and English functional skills: revised subject content consultation: The DfE are seeking views on proposed subject content for revised mathematics and English functional skills across all 5 levels in Maths and English. The Consultation closes on 7 November and can be accessed at:

GCSE results day 2017: Nick Gibb, congratulates students on GCSE results day and discusses attainment including a rise in post-16 attainment from 24.4% to 31.1% in England. Further details at:

A level results day 2017: Nick Gibb congratulates students on A level results day and says Maths is the most popular A level subject and there was an increase in STEM subjects with more females taking chemistry than males.

Supporting mental health in schools and colleges: Survey and case studies with schools on activities to support pupils' mental health and wellbeing has been published at:

2019 performance tables: technical and vocational qualifications: September update: Lists of qualifications for reporting in the 2019 performance tables in the following categories: technical awards; technical certificates; tech levels and applied general qualifications have been published at:

Further education for benefit claimants: 2015 to 2016: Analyses training for learners on benefits in England using government data for the 2015 to 2016 academic year have been published at:

Independent special schools and colleges: Lists of all independent schools and colleges for children with special educational needs or disability (SEND) have been published at:


Institute for Apprenticeships announces its External Quality Assurance delivery partner: The Institute announces contracting of Open Awards to deliver External Quality Assurance on its behalf. Further details at:

Apprenticeship reform programme: benefits realisation strategy: The DfE has published a Policy paper on the success measures against objectives for apprenticeship reform. Their key objectives, against which success will be measured, are: To meet the skills needs of employers; create progression for apprentices; to widen participation and social mobility in apprenticeships and to create more quality apprenticeships. The success measures and further details at:

Apprenticeships: become a training provider: Updated Guidance for employers who are considering becoming an apprenticeship training provider has been published at:

Experimental apprenticeships data visualisations: The DfE are developing data visualisation applications to offer users a more visual, interactive presentation of published data. The statistics for apprenticeship starts by local authority and apprenticeship starts by quarter to 2016, can be found at: The FE Data Library with all data for apprenticeships can be found at:

Apprenticeships in England by industry sector: Information on apprenticeship starts and participation by type of industry between the 2010 to 2011 and 2014 to 2015 academic years has been published at:

Apprenticeship service registrations and commitments to July 2017: Statistics from the apprenticeship service including registered apprenticeship service accounts and commitments, reported to 31 July 2017 have been published at:

Higher Education:

Jo Johnson: speech to UUK annual conference: Embracing accountability and promoting value for money in Higher Education: Jo Johnson's speech sets out the Government's vision for HE justifying student tuition fees and acknowledging the importance of gaining a degree. However he also acknowledges that HE should be accountable and realistic and sets out how this will be achieved. The next phase of the TEF (Teaching Excellence Framework) will monitor student satisfaction, OfS analysis and publication of grades to check grade inflation, student contracts will clarify student expectations, accelerated degrees to increase participation - he also recognises funding issues here! and the publication of staff pay levels over £150,000 to ensure good value. His speech can be read at:

Teaching Excellence Framework: lessons learned: A Policy paper has been published on the lessons learned from the TEF. It concludes that the TEF has been fair and transparent but that there are refinements required. The principal refinements to the assessment process include: Weighting of National Student Survey (NSS) metrics; Part-time provision and the explicit marking of high and low absolute values. It also suggests strengthening accountability by including: supplementary metrics derived from LEO data; grade inflation metrics; allowing the Director for Fair Access, or successor, to comment on whether ‘gaming’ has taken place and giving the TEF Chair the right of referral. Further details can be found at:

Widening participation in higher education: 2017: Annual statistics on young people's participation in higher education, including their social background and occupation after graduating have been published at:

Small-scale research projects: summaries: Brief outlines of small research projects commissioned through the DfE have been published at:

Professional News

Education and Training Foundation

Further Education colleges play huge part in increasing access to Higher Education: The ETF has published its 'College Higher Education Local Impact Summary' (CHELIS) report showing the increasing value of college-based higher education in widening participation. Further details can be found at:

Side by Side: The ETF has launched Side by Side, a free online Prevent duty awareness course for learners, together with a programme of free events. Further details of this and other support modules on Extremism and radicalisation, Online safety, What can you trust? and British values can be found at:

Applying and refreshing your Digital Skills: The ETF is offering three new digital skills courses this Autumn: Introduction to Digital Content, Creation and Design; Using Technology for Differentiation and Digital Skills for Workplace Preparation. Further details at:

Successfully using ICT to support learning in the secure establishment: The ETF has published a report on where digital literacy is being successfully taught in secure establishments and how this should be rolled out across the whole prison/secure estate. The report can be read at: Further details of the research can be found at:

Biggest QTLS registration window opens today: The Society for Education and Training (SET), the professional membership organisation for practitioners working in the post-16 Further Education and Training sector has today opened its This registration window closes on 31 October 2017. There are three registration windows per year – the next window opens on 1 December 2017 and closes on 31 January 2018.registration window for Qualified Teacher Learning and Skills (QTLS) status. Further details on the SET website at:

Ofsted and Ofqual

Further education and skills inspection handbook: The latest guidance on how further education and skills providers are inspected under the common inspection framework has been published by Ofsted at:

Reforming functional skills qualifications in English and maths: Consultation opens 5pm on 27 September 2017 and closes at 5pm on 22 November 2017. This consultation is about our approach to regulating reformed functional skills qualifications in English and maths and further details are at:

Inspecting learning and skills training for people in custody: A Handbook for providers and Ofsted inspectors on inspecting training and work activities for young adults and adults in custody has been published by Ofsted at:

Reducing regulatory burden: the Ofqual handbook and more: The handbook will be available alongside the existing documents during a test period (which runs until the end of the year) before a rollout in early 2018. It will be previewed in a live webinar on 5 October. Further details at:

Ofqual postcards: GCSE, AS and A level reforms: Updated postcards outlining the work Ofqual is doing, with an emphasis on current reforms to qualifications in England have been published at:

Accreditation of GCSEs and A levels for teaching from 2018: Lists of the latest accreditated qualifications has been published at:

Legacy AS and A levels: requirements and guidance: Updated guidance has been published at:
GCSEs (A* to G): requirements and guidance: updated guidance has been published at:

FE Week

FE Week describes itself as 'a lively read, offering a mixture of news, exclusives, expert comment, features, technical information, coffee break snippets and more. Worth a read at Articles include:

Vince Cable has backed the creation of lifelong learning accounts following a report published with the National Union of Students on how to improve learner experience in post-16 education.
DfE launches its FIFTH consultation on apprenticeship funding reform: The DfE have launched this survey following the changes in funding formula in May and the lower than expected take-up of apprenticeships - closes 3 October.
Education select committee to investigate subcontracting: Its work on subcontracting and apprenticeships is expected to be focused on concerns on value for money and quality of provision – which will more than likely see more of a spotlight on the Learndirect saga! There are several other articles about Learndirect.
T-Levels: The DfE has put out a tender for an organisation to create and run a “series of specialist events” to raise awareness about the reforms to technical education to train FE staff about T-levels. These will also gather information for the public consultation on T-levels.
‘Collusion’ banned in tough new EPA guidance: The government has fired a warning shot at organisations seeking to undermine the independence of final apprenticeship exams with the release of new guidance this month that specifically prohibits “collusion”.
Functional Skills: The government, apparently under the influence of the schools minster Nick Gibb, is ploughing ahead with reforms to functional skills in English that run contrary to the advice it has received.
ESFA row-back on plans to increase apprenticeship performance threshold: The threshold in 2015/16 was 62 percent and in February 2017 the DfE wanted to raise it to 65 percent in 2017 but has agreed to retain the 62 percent threshold.
Plus lots of FE provider gossip!


Maths and English resilience courses available for hosting now: WMCETT's contract with the ETF to run more subsidised one-day introduction to mathematical and English resilience courses around the country, and also three-day introduction to coaching skills for maths/English resilience has been extended until April 2018 and WMCETT are now inviting organisations to get in touch if they would like to host a course - for as little as FIVE of your own staff. There is more information at: