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Sector News, 3 - 7 March 2008

Hands up if you want a truly equal society - Education Guardian, 4 March

“The reality of equal opportunity would be that the children of the advantaged would no longer enjoy the privileges that turn the 7% of pupils attending private schools into the 50% entering the two most prestigious universities.”

Argument that successive governments have had little desire to change the educational system to ensure that true equality is an outcome.

A chance to help shape our own future. Let’s grasp it - Education Guardian, 4 March 

Short article on John Denham’s suggestion that FE joins him in exploring the future of FE, rather than being coerced.

Times Higher Education, 6 March

Reference to the Financial Times attack on the Government’s plans to increase involvement in the design and funding of degree courses.

Denham announces reviews to map out sector’s future - Times Higher Education, 6 March

“Minister promises long-term planning and lauds business partnerships.”

“The Government has launched a series of reviews to decide what a future “world-class higher education system should look like”.  John Denham stated (at the Welcome Trust) that the outcome of seven reviews will be used to produce a 10 to 15 year plan for the sector.  “The Government is to begin a consultation on the need to increase higher level skills by engaging employers in designing and funding degree courses."  Mr. Denham outlined five key objectives for the sector: research leadership; better business links; greater international collaboration; unlocking home grown talent; and maximising universities regional and cultural role.
New advanced diplomas to be worth 4.5 A-levels - TES, 7 March

“Details of MA qualification for every teacher also to be announced by Ed Balls.” “A new set of extended diplomas including an advanced level qualification worth 4.5 A-levels, will be launched to stretch the most able pupils.”  [Pupils] will be prepared for university through research intensive projects.  There will also be an extra focus on core subjects such as English or maths.

Vocational pass rates soar - TES, 7 March, FE Focus

“Pass rates for 19 year olds are a year ahead of target, with nearly 482,000 gaining two qualifications (equivalent of five good GCSEs), whilst more than 313,000 completed A-levels, or their vocational equivalent, at level three.”

Rob Wye, director of young people’s learning at the Learning and Skills Council, commented that “the FE system is really delivering to increase the number of young people – particularly the more disadvantaged – achieving a level two or three”.