Thursday, 6 August 2015

Improve Functional Skills success rates by 9%

Independent evidence released that just 15 hours of e-learning improves Functional Skills success rates by 9%
The report below, first published in FENews, highlights the direct link between the use of e-learning resources and improvements in outcome success.

The report compares two groups of students - those who only did the assessment and diagnostic test and those who then continued to use e-learning resources on-line.

The results showed that just 15 hours of e-learning use improves average results by 9%.

Saturday, 27 June 2015

GCSE - problem or solution for post-16?

Politics and GCSE are this week's theme.  It started when Ofqual released a clear and pretty unambiguous diagram that showed GCSE 9-1 level 4 was equivalent to grade C. But then Nicky Morgan said level 5 should be considered a good pass.
And then Tristram Hunt of Labour questioned whether the whole thing should be reviewed during this parliament before the CBI finally weighed in last week with direct comments saying GCSEs should be scrapped within 5 years.

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

New GCSE grades

Confused about the new GCSE grades?

Nicky Morgan today said that the new grade 5 would be equivalent to a “good pass” at GCSE.

But just 2 weeks ago, Ofqual released this diagram which clearly suggests that grade 4 is equivalent to a grade C, the grade the Government uses for a “good pass”.

So under the new grading system we appear now to have a “pass = 4 = current  C” and “good pass = 5 = top C”.  So which is it?  I suppose it will depend on how Ofsted and/or the Government decide on which grade will be used in league tables, thereby determining where schools are placed in relative performance.

And where does this leave Functional Skills, surely if grade 5 becomes the standard, then it makes the case even stronger for Functional Skills to be the qualification of choice for vocational learners and those for whom a practical qualification in English and maths is better than a fail at GCSE. 

A Level 2 Functional Skills pass will always be seen by employers as much more valuable than a GCSE fail.

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Post-16 maths and English

GCSE is taking on ever more importance, particularly in FE Colleges where learners on full time study programmes with an existing grade D GCSE are expected to keep re-sitting until they pass.  We have two reports about this, a link to Radio 4's Today programme and report from SGS College published in the Bristol Post.
Are your students spending hours doing "dry as ditchwater" GCSE assessments?  Don't, try the newly re-designed and re-launched GCSE assessment from ForSKills - details below.
Capita are running a Post-16 Maths and English conference in London on 8th July - we have links to this. 
This week's free videos are below - maths is all about Percentages and English is suffixes - both key parts of the GCSE curriculum too!

As always, feel free to contact Jonathan Wells, the editor of this newsletter on 0191 3055045 or 

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Free week in the newsletter

This week is "free week" and we feature lots of free to access and free to use resources for GCSE and Functional Skills in maths and English.
Join NCFE and The Learning Curve Group for a "Queen's Speech Webinar" delivered by sector expert Beej Kaczmarczyk.
We've also added free links to GCSESCREENER and some great BBC Bitesize resources and for those who are prepared to go that extra mile and follow @ForSkills, then a free poster awaits.
And don't forget the links to this weeks free ICT (IF functions) and free maths (mean and range) videos. 

As always, feel free to contact Jonathan Wells, the editor of this newsletter on 0191 3055045 or 

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Week of May 13th English and maths newsletter

This week's newsletter has a brief political update taking into account post election announcements and news about the international comparison OECD "PISA" tests and where the UK sits in comparison.
We also have news of a new e-learning hours report that came about as a result of a customer request and some great free stuff from ForSkills - learner journey posters for English and maths. 
And free videos this week - mean & range plus @if functions - our first free ICT video. 
As always, feel free to contact Jonathan Wells, the editor of this newsletter on 0191 3055045 or

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

In the news

In this week's newsletter we have a really good summary of all the major parties manifesto positions in this sector written and published by AELP.  At just 8 pages long,it details all the promises by policy area.
Learning at Work Week is nearly here too - also this week is a new feature - about "features".  In the coming weeks we'll cover additional areas such as GCSE assessment, e-learning hours reports and learner progression analysis. This week we start with spiky profiles!
And did you win - the results of the £250,000+ e-portfolio prize draw!  

As always, feel free to contact Jonathan Wells, the editor of this newsletter on 0191 3055045 or