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Sector News, 04 August - 08 August 2008

How the Tories will bring back adult learning.  Education Guardian, 5 August 2008.

Comment, John Hayes, Shadow minister for Innovation, Universities and Skills.

The Tories are promising an increase in investment for Adult and Continuing Learning as well as for young people.  Their latest policy statement talks about reversing the decline in adult education by investing £100 million every year.

Forget the messy hair, tangle with the ideas.  Education Guardian, 5 August 2008.

Phil Beadle reflects on the Channel 4’s series Can’t Read, Can’t Write and shows disappointment at Niace’s response to the show as well as the (seemingly) lack of co-operation between the various sectors involved in delivering adult literacy and numeracy education.

Behind the scenes at the academy.  THE, 7 August 2008.

A major article on the Higher Education Academy.  John Gil reports on the troubled academy whose independence and credibility is under threat.  The Institute for Learning and Teaching (ILT) was established after the 1997 Dearing report in order to give a greater priority to teaching and learning.  However, four years after its inception HEA replaced ILT.  Whilst the sector believes that the academy belongs to it, it receives funding from central Government and hence the Government influences its decisions. 

The great, the good and the ugly.  THE, 2 August 2008.

“Astronauts, actors, controversial politicians and a Muppet are among those to have landed an honorary degree. So is it all a populist stunt or is there a credible rationale for such awards?" asks Hannah Fearn.

Students who cheated their way into Business school will be expelled. THE, 2 August 2008.

From the “The week in higher education” column this story was reported in the Times on 2 August.  Thousands of student scores in the GMAT entrance exam may be cancelled after buying access to questions in advance over the internet.

A-levels set to exceed 97 per cent pass rate.  TES, 8 August 2008.

The opening shot in this year's discussions on A level results has been fired by the TES this week who claim that A level pass rates will exceed 97% and that A grades will increase to 25.3%.

Diplomas may devastate ability in maths, say subject experts.  TES, 8 August 2008.

The advisory group Matths in Education and Industry (MEI) say that engineering students will only cover a fraction of the mathematics that they would have covered at A level.  The diploma course has 240 hours of taught maths compared with 360 at A level.  MEI are also worried that top performing students may drop maths A level in favour of special maths units on the diploma courses.

UCAS carrot could halt decline.  TES, 8 August 2008.

In a proposal put forward by the Campaign for Science and Engineering (CSE), UCAS are requested to give extra points to students who take A levels in science and engineering.  CSE’s rationale is that giving bonus points would attract more pupils to the subjects.

Class effect prevents England from joining world’s best educators. TES, 8 August 2008.

The rich/poor divide is growing according to a major article in this week's TES.  We all know that there is a strong correlation between pupil’s performance and their socio-economic background.  Included in the article are comments from a number of educationalists, along with comments from the Shadow Secretary for Children, Schools and Families (Plight of forgotten pupils gets worse).  In addition, in “Book a place at the bottom of the league”,  a table shows England at the ‘bottom of the pile’ in terms of performance based on socio-economic background, (the column admits that the measure used is crude).

Train to Gain is in the slow lane.  TES, FE Focus, 8 August 2008.

Million of pounds of Train to Gain funding is going unclaimed because employers are unhappy with the process.  Despite general CBI support, the scheme (CBI say) is too prescriptive for many companies.

Room to learn in cyberspace.  TES. FE Focus, 8 August 2008.

‘ Second Life’ is an internet-based virtual world used by the College of North West London to create an island and campus.  Currently virtual lessons are given only to the college’s students but the college foresees a future in delivering other courses this way.

Lottery over teacher training.  TES, FE Focus, 8 August 2008.

Teacher training is being hit by the Government’s drive to prioritise people working to their first level two qualification.  Many teachers who are already well qualified through industry are failing to obtain funding to meet the Government’s demand that all teachers should have a level three or four teaching qualification.  The Learning and Skills Council (LSC) claim that their funding is being ‘strangled’ by the preferential treatment of those requiring level two qualifications.