Functional Skills Revision

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Wednesday, 25 February 2015

2015 Survey results - full release

Highlights from the results of this year’s survey include:
Within the sector, confidence in and experience of Functional Skills is at an all-time high. The position re GCSE is the complete opposite, with confusion over policy, a lack of experience and very limited confidence that GCSE is the right qualification for learners within the sector.
Awarding Organisations have improved customer satisfaction for Functional Skills with more than 75% of all respondents declaring they are very or quite happy with their provider. C&G and Pearson have almost established a duopoly supplying more than 80% of all institutions in the FE and WBL sector. Many of the smaller awarding organisations find success in other sectors away from the mainstream.
The market for assessments, diagnostics and resources is dominated by BKSB and ForSkills/Guroo with more 90% of all respondents saying they used one or the other. In terms of supplier performance, respondents overwhelming nominated ForSkills/Guroo as their supplier of choice in all 8 categories of resource type and use.

For the first time, the survey asked about e-portfolio use and about half of respondents said they used a system. The three largest systems mentioned were OneFileSmart Assessor and SkillsPortfolio. Results show that customer satisfaction with e-portfolios is high at 80%+ with the one exception being users of Smart Assessor systems.

ELATT - Outstanding Grade 1 provider and ForSkills user

Congratulations to ForSkills customer ELATT on their very recent OFSTED "Outstanding" Grade 1 inspection result.  One of things that the inspectors noted was how well they used the information from their initial assessment and the diary function in SkillsBuilder.

"Teachers and learners use individual learning plans and the results of initial assessment of skills very effectively in planning further work. Every learner reflects on their learning in a daily diary, recording what they found difficult and what they found easy, which again helps planning. Where diaries have an emphasis on the tasks completed rather than what new aspects were learnt, the planning process is not as effective."
Can we help you achieve grade 1? 

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

ETF Consultation - deadline 24th Feb

Following on from the Ofsted Thematic Review which was focused on awarding organisation, in particular standards and assessment, the Education and Training Foundation (ETF) has launched a consultation entitled "Making maths and English work for all".
This consultation is very much focused on the learner – it is open until February 24th, so don’t delay, have your say today!

Want to know more? The TES report on the issues in the  sector, brings together several issues - branding, rigour, assessment and review.  FE Week also ran an article in a similar vein.

Ofsted inspectors comments about English and maths

·         Over-reliance on paper based resources
·         Using an initial assessment that does not produce a spiky profile
·         Few links to vocational content
·         Targets too general and focused on task completion
·         Not enough personalisation of learning
·         Too much emphasis on exam practice
·         Employability, equality and diversity not addressed
·         Activities were insufficiently stimulating

·         Too many whole group activities which were either too easy or too difficult for most

Distilled from the Learning Curve Conferences, sponsored by ncfe and ForSkills

Events in Feb and March 2015

EMSkills – Derby Riverside on Friday 13th February – What does the Ofqual review mean for the future of Functional Skills?
Voice of Apprenticeships conference March 3/4 in London – a major event for the sector with Nick Boles delivering the keynote.
FEWeek Apprenticeship conference March 9/10 in London – No Nick Boles, but Kirsty Wark is the conference chair.

All maths and English, Functional Skills and GCSE, all being attended by ForSkills and Guroo.

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Key sector providers results - BKSB or ForSkills/Guroo?

The table summarises the results of the 4th Annual Functional Skills Survey.  BKSB and ForSkills/Guroo have more than 90% of the market.

4th Annual Survey of Functional Skills - Key Resource Providers

The results of the second part of the largest independent survey in the  sector - the 4th Annual Functional Skills Survey - are the focus of this week's newsletter.
An analysis of respondents views on two questions “Please tell us about the best resources you use for Functional Skills” and “Please rank each provider according to your personal perceptions or experience” are the focus of this week’s newsletter.
As always, feel free to contact Jonathan Wells, the editor of this newsletter on 0191 3055045 or and if you'd like to comment on the new style of newsletter, including the picture to the right - please do! 
Analysis and results of the sector's largest independent survey.
More than 1000 respondents have contributed to the Annual Functional Skills Survey over the last 4 years. The results and analysis below focus on the key suppliers to the sector for 2015 are below.
A common feature of previous annual surveys has been analysis of respondent’s views and opinions of key suppliers in the sector. The 2015 survey maintains this and this section summarises the opinions of the respondents. 
What is clear is that in all categories of resource, more than 90% of respondents mentioned either BKSB or ForSkills/Guroo. New entrants, in-house developed and “free internet” resources represent less than 10% of respondent’s answers across all areas, perhaps reflecting the need to use Ofsted compliant resources that are standardised, well proven and fully supported.
Onto the results – we asked “Please tell us about the best resources you use for Functional Skills” and then respondents vote across 8 categories of resource type and use: Assessment & Diagnostic, T&L resources, Ease of Use, Engaging Learners, Progress Tracking, Support, Pricing and Company Experience.

The results reveal quite naturally that the market choice is very much BKSB or ForSkills/Guroo with the table and bar chart below showing two different views of all choices.