Skip to main content

Sector news, 16 - 20 July 2012

More men training as primary schoolteachers, says report The Guardian, 16 July 2012

The number of male trainee primary schoolteachers in England has increased by more than 50 per cent in the last four years. Data from the Teaching Agency (TA), which is responsible for initial teacher training showed the number of men undertaking a career in primary teaching has grown at five times the rate of women. There were 3,743 trainee male primary teachers in 2011/12, compared with 2,476 in 2008/09. According to the TA, teachers are twice as likely to be in management positions after three and a half years than graduates in comparable professions. It is offering male graduates the chance to contact male teachers to find out more about the role.


Ofsted inspectors offered counselling after a clash with teachers brings college visit to an ‘untimely end’ Daily Mail, 17 July 2012

The Daily Mail reports that Ofsted inspectors were offered counselling after a “troubling incident” caused a school inspection to be cut short. The inspectors were asked to leave Newcastle College, rated one of the top further education institutions in England, after a dispute with teachers over the way the inspection was conducted. The inspection results would currently see the Newcastle College, part of the Newcastle College Group that also incorporates West Lancashire College and Intraining based in Sheffield, downgraded from its outstanding status to good. But Chief executive of the Newcastle College Group Jackie Fisher, who was made a Dame in 2010 for her outstanding contribution to further education, has now told staff she plans to challenge Ofsted’s decision. She has formally complained about the behaviour of some inspectors following the visits in May and June. An Ofsted spokeswoman said: “While Ofsted does not comment on individual complaints, we do take complaints very seriously, investigating each one rigorously and dealing with issues as quickly as possible.”


Don't bore us, get to the 'useful answer' chorus, says ex-minister THE, 19 July 2012

A former Labour education secretary has called on educational researchers to abandon their focus on "minor or introverted research interests" and to start "offering answers to the questions which preoccupy policy-makers". In the latest issue of the International Journal for Learning and Lesson Studies, Charles Clarke, who was secretary of state for education and skills in the Labour government from 2002 to 2004, said there was still a need to investigate a wide range of questions about how to best achieve success. He said researchers should initiate discussion with practitioners about the future of education and educational improvement agenda. Academics pointed out it may not be possible to get the simple answer Mr Clarke was seeking.

Fees holdouts head for the top THE, 19 July 2012

The first evidence has emerged that several universities plan to increase their tuition fees in 2013, with three post-1992 universities among those rising to the £9,000 ceiling. Times Higher Education surveyed many universities that set their top fees below £9,000 in 2012-13 to ask what maximum fee has been proposed for 2013-14. Of 14 that responded, eight said that they hoped to increase their maximum charges.

£50m fund aims to ‘mitigate’ discouraging effect of loans TES, 20 July 2012

FE minister John Hayes has announced plans to protect some of the poorest students who will be affected by the new FE loans scheme, with £50 million of bursaries to help disadvantaged adults with their living costs, £20 of which is new money, and he has also proposed fresh concessions for courses where students have particular difficulties. There have been fears that adults on access to HE courses would be hit by having to take out two sets of loans, but now their first loan will be written off when they successfully graduate from their degree. Mr Hayes admitted the changes were because the government recognised adults could be put off FE because of loans for over-24s on level 3 courses.

Quality may be 'diluted' as providers band together TES, 20 July 2012

A decision by the Skills Funding Agency (SFA) to only deal directly with FE contracts worth at least £500,000 was supposed to make life easier and save the government money. But Ofsted says the process may have “diluted” the quality of apprenticeships. Although some kinds of FE providers are exempt, lots of smaller training organisations have been forced to club together to keep government funding. But Ofsted says some of the best-performing smaller providers may have got together with larger less-successful organisations, with the quality of the training deteriorating as a result. Matthew Coffey, Ofsted's national director of learning and skills, told TES that a number of subcontractors were charging small providers management fees as high as 45 per cent. To beat this, small providers might join up with partners taking a smaller cut but they did not always offer a good experience for learners and many organisations had had to cut staff to balance the books. Ofsted is to report on the issue later this summer.

Inspectors asked to leave after ‘troubling incidents’ TES, 20 July 2012

Newcastle College has become the first institution to ask Ofsted inspectors to leave part way through an inspection. The move came as a result of what the college has described as “some troubling incidents” involving inspectors and staff. In a memo to staff seen by TES, Dame Jackie Fisher, executive principal of the college’s parent organisation NCG, the biggest FE organisation in the country, paid tribute to “the self-confidence and belief of our staff and students, who were not intimidated by inspectors but who held their ground from a position of professional and ethical confidence”. The inspection has now been concluded and a spokesman for NCG said it had already submitted an official complaint to Ofsted about the inspection. An Ofsted spokeswoman confirmed that the initial inspection had been cut short, but refused to comment on the case.

Plus, more FE news at:

including: LSIS unveils initial teacher training awards scheme