Friday, 25 September 2015

16 to 19 funding for maths and English

Key changes from previous guidance are:
Where targets for 2014/15 were missed by less than 5%, no funding deduction will be made. Outside of this 5% tolerance, the funding reduction per student will be reduced from 100% to 50% of the national funding rate.
The Government have said that 97% of students without GCSE A*-C did an approved course (typically either Functional Skills or GCSE re-sit) in 2014/15 which means that 35,000 students did not.  Institutions who did not fully comply will also be required to complete a survey to say why and what they are doing to ensure it doesn't happen again.
Almost all Apprenticeship programmes retain Functional Skills as an option, as does adult learning courses.  The full guidance is here.

Can it be 8 years since I wrote this

"Make them important"  -an article from August 2007 by Jonathan Wells

"One of the key reasons why Key Skills is a cinderella subject at college is that students, staff and employers don't see them as important. Students don't need to do Key Skills, nor pass them (MA excepted). A level students at school don't even do them.
With Functional Skills we all have the opportunity to make them important. So let's make sure that EVERY student understands them, EVERY employer knows what they are and ALL college staff know why they are important.
If it was me I would treat Functional Skills like a brand new consumer brand and go about marketing it in the same way - viral marketing, product launch, recognition adverts, supermarket sampling, free trials, simple marketing messages."

Have things changed that much?

Friday, 18 September 2015

Newsletter out today

This week's packed newsletter is being delivered at a different time - an experiment on our part.
This week we have a summary of the Government and Employers Skills Agenda and news of a recent OECD report into the use of technology in schools which makes for very interesting reading, not so much for what it says, but for it doesn't!
A reminder than the 2015 survey is running and your valuable input is sought plus ForSkills is recruiting for a Customer Engagement Officer with a salary guide of £30-40K - watch the video for more details.
As always, feel free to contact Jonathan Wells, the editor of this newsletter on 0191 3055045 or 

Job anyone?

Watch and apply!

Customer Engagement Officer.

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Paper based screeners - absolutely brilliant value

Brand new and amazing value paper based ForSkills and Guroo Screeners – Full colour, 4 page A4 paper based screener for maths, English and ICT designed to produce an accurate level in just 10 minutes. Our bulk buying means we can ship from stock, and with prices lower than it would cost you to print in-house.  

events coming up.

A quick summary of some key sector events planned over the next few weeks:
Friday 2nd October - GW Partnership Skills for Life event at Wooton-under-Edge, Glos.
Thursday 15th October - AELP Special Interest group Functional Skills in London
Tuesday 20th October - AELP national conference in Coventry

Tuesday 17th November - AOC Annual Conference in Birmingham

Survey results - early findings

With almost 100 completed responses already, early results are promising. More than 70% of you value this newsletter and as a good or excellent source of news which is very gratifying. More importantly early results from the survey also show:
  • More than 50% of you think that mandatory GCSE re-sits are a “terrible idea”, whereas 65% think schools should offer Functional Skills from year 10 for learners with vocational ambitions.
  • A surprising 90% are confident that Functional Skills level 2 is a rigorous qualification, only 70% think the same about GCSE. Almost 60% report that learners enjoy Functional Skills, the equivalent GCSE number is 40%.
  • NCFE will be pleased that the top requests for additional services from Awarding Organisations are “free initial assessment and diagnostic tools” and “faster results turnaround”.
Some great quotes too:
  • “I am seeing more and more 16-19 year olds who can ‘perform’ maths skills but cannot apply them to everyday situations – how is this preparing them for working life?”
  • “Expecting the FE to upgrade students to at least a C in one year of teaching (when schools have not succeeded in 5) is creating lots of barriers to learning”
  • “The choice of Functional Skills or GCSE should be appropriate for the learner, not dictated by funding”
  • “Recent Government changes to grade boundaries at GCSE have made the qualification worthless to employers”
  • “End this GCSE re-sit madness – it’s destroying the confidence of students”

The link is here please take 10 minutes and add your thoughts and opinions - they do count and they are important.