Functional Skills Revision

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Wednesday, 17 September 2014

English and maths in the news

English and maths in the news - Ofsted, BBC, Business Select Committee.

A number of articles have appeared over the last few days all to do with improving the quality and quantity of English and maths teaching for post-16 learners.

The Commons Business Select Committee reported that an "alarmingly high" proportion of adults in England lacked a good grasp of reading, writing and maths.  Suggestions made included assessing the the English and maths skills of jobseekers "at the earliest possible stage of unemployment benefit claims" to provide an "an ideal opportunity to inform people of training available to help them gain the vital skills they need."  
So although the Government has pledged free training for any adult up to GCSE, those with limited skills in core areas are often excluded as they are not aware this support exists.

The quality of teaching in English and maths is not good enough, careers guidance is weak and local authorities aren't tracking progress effectively, according to Ofsted’s Director for Further Education and Skills, Lorna Fitzjohn.
On the subject of English and maths the report states "Although all of the providers surveyed are aware of the English and mathematics GCSE requirements of the 16 to 19 study programmes and understand and agree with their importance, very few of them met the requirements adequately, particularly FE colleges and independent learning providers. For example, far too many learners were on provision, often in functional skills, that was not higher than their prior attainment."  


Read about the Guardian's take on the same story here.

Events Autumn 2014

Events, exhibitions and conferences
The autumn is always a busy time of the year with lots of events on, here's just a few that Guroo are involved in.
Developing skills to deliver English, maths and ESOL - organised bscheduledy EMSkills and located in Derby on October 23rd. 
Meeting new standards in teaching, learning and assessment - organised by Optimus education, located in Birmingham on 27th November.
World of Learning exhibition - a key exhibition and conference at the NEC, Birmingham on 30 Sept/01 Oct.
The AELP Autumn Conference including a key theme of English and Maths Changes in Employment and Skills Programmes - 15th October in Birmingham
The e-vocational conference organised by Assessment Tomorrow and to be held in Leeds on 19th November

NIACE Consultation

Consultation on implementation of GCSE reforms for adults and apprentices

Don't forget to respond by Sept 30th - NIACE are managing a consultation process with a close date of September 30th about the issues surrounding effective implementation of the new 2015 GCSE qualifications for adults and apprentices.

Friday, 5 September 2014

Functional Skills and GCSE offers

Guroo offers and recent developments
Order in September - get 15% more licences for free!  Rules - the offer applies to everyone whether extending, renewing, returning or new customers both large and small.  And don't forget that with Guroo all you pay for is each learner licence once, and once only.
  • Tutor licences, set-up and even webinar based training are all included free.
  • Learner licences do not end after 1 year, we do not bill you again for the same learner if they take 13 months to complete.
  • Guroo licences cover unlimited access to everything - assessment, diagnostics, ILP, GCSE, Functional Skills, screeners, exam practice, resources and even external links.
And just a reminder that Guroo pricing is open and fair, and you can try Guroo before you buy - free of charge naturally.
What's new - a brief selection of new Guroo additions from summer 2014.
  • GCSE assessment and diagnostic for maths and English
  • GCSE/FS screener test 
  • Tutorial videos covering English apostrophes, paragraphs and planning
Exam tips tutorial videos for FS maths and FS English reading & writing

Govt confirms rules on Functional Skills and GCSE choice for post-16 learners

For learners on an Apprenticeship programme, the funding rules and guidelines are very simple. Learners are expected to follow Functional Skills qualifications until 2020.
The same rules apply to Adult learners - Functional Skills is the qualification of choice and is a fully funded qualification for those without a level 2 until 2020.
There is more complexity with 16-18 learners on fulltime courses.  From September 2014, learners should follow the course that is most appropriate to them - whether that's GCSE or Functional Skills.  In most cases, this will be Functional Skills, but where a learner has already achieved a grade D GCSE, it's likely that Ofsted will be keen to explore the reasons behind the choice.
From September 2015, the position is clear, for 16-18 year olds on a full time study course (not an apprenticeship), they will be funded to follow GCSE if they have an existing grade D or Functional Skills if they have grade E-F or nothing at all.
So in summary:
  • Apprentices and adults study Functional Skills until at least 2020.
  • 16-18 year olds in full time study follow Functional Skills unless they have an existing grade D at GCSE.

Why 2020 - GCSE examinations are not and will not be "roll-on, roll-off" programmes of study until at least 3 years after the first exams of the new 2015 specification GCSE which is first examined in 2017.  Subject to policy and indeed Government changes, 2020 could easily be 2022 or 20125 or more! 
NIACE are managing a consultation process with a close date of September 30th about the issues surrounding effective implementation of the new 2015 GCSE qualifications for adults and apprentices.

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

The Guroo guys after the Stockton Ratrace on Sunday 24th August!  Neil, Simon, Andy and Jonathan

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

BIS confirmation that Functional Skills stays in all Apprenticeships till at least 2020

Just had direct confirmation from BIS that GCSE is NOT a requirement of Apprenticeships and Adult Learning until 2020, Only by then will Awarding Organisations have had the chance to develop with suitable on-line assessments.

So Functional Skills STAYS as the qualification of choice for all Apprenticeships and Adult Learning.

There was some talk that learners with a grade D must take GCSE - this only applies to full time  courses for students aged 16-18 with a grade D at GCSE from August 2015.  They will be expected and funded to retake GCSE. 

Guroo has a fantastic solution for Functional Skills!