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Sector News, 24 - 28 March 2008

Education for all - Education Guardian, 25 March

Concerns expressed that the Leitch report’s (adult careers) recommendations will not be met by recent Government plans on welfare reform and “advancement agencies”.  Leitch recommended the amalgamation of Learndirect Careers Advice and Next Step.  

The News - THE, 27 March

The Times has reported that there are too many easy A levels, a view supported by the Conservative party who consider that students are damaging their long term prospects by taking inappropriate A levels.  The Times reported that nearly 24,000 students (in 2006/07) studied at least two less challenging courses e.g. film and media studies and travel and tourism. 

Btec bamboozles course leaders -  THE, 27 March

University course leaders have little understanding of the further education qualifications held by applicants, according to a Government study.  Those polled in the study were also unsure about the distinction between advanced vocational certificates of education, vocational A levels and applied A levels.  Whilst the survey did not find any negativity towards further education it suggests that much needs to be done to bring HE up to date. 

Don’t twist the diplomas - TES, 28 March

Headteachers have criticised ministers foe exaggerating take up of the new 14-19 diplomas.  Howard Murray (Head of Slough and Eton Business Enterprise College)  comments that “Ministers seem to be suggesting that virtually all schools are offering diplomas but that is clearly not the case”.  A TES survey of 870n teachers, found 40 per cent thought would better engage pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds, 30 per cent they would not and 30 per cent said they were unsure. 

Sifting fact from fiction (advertisement feature) - TES, 28 March

Advertisement explaining the opportunities attributed to the new diplomas.  The Diploma is one of a number of reforms coming to schools and colleges in September. The advertisement comments that the Diploma will not provide job specific training and that it will not be a purely vocational qualification.  Under the heading “Why the Diploma?” the article explains that the rationale is firstly to meet the skills needs of the economy well into the future by engaging young people in more relevant learning and secondly to encourage 14-19 year-olds to aspire to higher levels of achievement.   It is anticipated that HE will accept the diploma as entrance to the sector because HE has been involved in its development.

There are two websites which explain the Diplomas more fully: and

Bacc to the future? - TES, 28 March

A growing number of teachers believe the International Baccalaureate diploma is a more accurate measure of achievement for pupils.  The IB system demands that students select one subject from each of six groups – a first language, a second language, experimental science, mathematics and computer sciences, the arts and individuals and society (e.g. history) – and study them at different levels according to their own strengths.  Critics comment that the breadth of learning comes at the expense of depth.  Britain (with 126 schools) is the worlds third highest user of IB diplomas after the USA and Canada.

For information about IB diplomas use

Registration deadline for FE teachers is upon us - TES, 28 March, FE Focus

Comment by Lee Davies Acting Chief Executive, Institute for Learning.  Existing further education teachers in England are required to register with the Institute for Learning by March 31, and to abide by its professional code of practice.  They will also have to undertake at least 30 hours of continuing professional development each year.  Registration can be made via