Functional Skills Revision

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Wednesday, 21 January 2015

2015 Functional Skills Annual Survey is out now - or at least the first part is!

Really interesting results about the experience and preparedness of post-16 English and maths practitioners in Functional Skills and GCSE.

And I mean really interesting - don't miss this, edited by Jonathan Wells of ForSkills

Thursday, 15 January 2015

Happy 10th year - celebrate ForSkills achievement with a massive prize draw

To celebrate their 10th birthday, ForSkills are giving away more than a quarter of a million pounds worth of SkillsPortfolio licences.
So whether counting your e-learning hours to support analysis against Feltag targets, improving your assessor tracking and visit utilisation, or simply getting a detailed and accurate picture of learner progression (including partial completions), SkillsPortfolio from ForSkills should be on your "must see demo-list".

And uniquely amongst full service e-portfolio solutions, every SkillsPortfolio licence includes full access to the extensive and award winning English, maths and ICT resources from ForSkills and Guroo. This represents a major cost saving against competitor products such as OneFile and Smart Assessor.
To enter simply click here and complete your details and one simple and optional question about current e-portfolio use.
Prizes are as follows - all prizes and discounts apply solely to ForSkills SkillsPortfolio products.
  • 1 x £5000 voucher to be spent on SkillsPortfolio licences
  • Plus an additional 5 x £2000 vouchers
  • Another 10 x £1000 vouchers
  • Then finally, a further 10 vouchers that enable prize draw winners to get a full 50% off the list price of SkillsPortfolio licences and upgrades - worth up to £25,000 per voucher.
Click here to enter the prize draw - the prize draw will close on Friday April 3rd with prize winners drawn over the Easter break and announced by the April 24th 2015. Terms and conditions apply.

Jonathan Wells - Marketing Director at ForSkills Ltd.
Editor and author of the Functional Skills newsletters 

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Events for providers delivering post-16 maths and English

Events, conferences and exhibitions
January - Wed 28 and Thu 29 London Olympia - the Learning Technologies and Learning & Skills show are effectively the same event and probably the largest exhibition and conference for the sector of the year.  Attendees tend to be training providers and corporates with a sprinkling of FE Colleges and exhibitors are typically every significant e-learning developers and provider to the sector. ForSkills/Guroo will be on stand 323.
February - The future of English and maths in FE is the subject of 4 FREE regional seminar roadshows organised by the Learning Curve Group and ForSkills.  Each event will be led by keynote speaking and sector expert Beej Kaczmarczyk with additional practical workshop sessions focused on English and maths delivery including a session specifically about e-learning hours tracking and reporting - very relevant at the moment!  The events are free but you must register and choose from Tue 3 in York, Wed 4 in Manchester, Tue 10 in London and Wed 11 in Birmingham.
March - Apprenticeships4England on Tue 3 and Wed 4 in London is a hugely popular event (now in its 3rd year) and attracting more than 300 leaders from the sector.  Featuring keynotes from the Minister Nick Boles and Jonathan Wells of ForSkills, it really is a must attend event if you are involved in Apprenticeships.   

March - a new event organised by FE Week and occurring during Apprenticeship Week is scheduled for Mon 9 and Tue 10 in central London.  At this stage there is limited information on speakers other than Nick Linford, but I'm sure more will follow. 

Complied by Jonathan Wells of ForSkills - Functional Skills and GCSE assessments and diagnostics. 

maths and English in the news for the post-16 sector

Watch Nick Boles talking about the Government's response to the Commons Select Committee Adult Literacy and Numeracy Report.  
The ETF is creating a taskforce to look at the teaching and accreditation of maths and English for learners unable to reach grade D GCSE.  The taskforce will include representatives of AELP (training providers), AoC (colleges) and Holex (adult learners) is being led by a former college principal - Professor Ed Sallis.  For further details, see the ETF article and comment from FE Week.

On the same theme, the government’s response to a House of Commons BIS Select Committee inquiry into adult literacy and numeracy has been welcomed as recognising the “urgency of the situation”. Read the FE Week article about the response.

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Select Committee Report into Adult Literacy and Numeracy

Another Nick Boles video - this time the Government's response to the adult literacy and numeracy report
Watch Nick Boles talking about the Government's response to the Commons Select Committee Adult Literacy and Numeracy Report.  
Also on this link is the full pdf report detailing all the evidence.  A couple of things that really drew my attention was that the Army is highlighted for the excellent way in which it delivers Functional Skills (ForSkills and Guroo are delighted to be key suppliers to the Army too).  The committee also noted in the conclusion:
  • "We reject the blanket acceptance that GCSEs in English and Maths are the gold standard by which schemes and attainment are measured. GCSEs are not always the most appropriate qualification for adults to work towards"
  • "There is no silver bullet to solve the issue of adult literacy and numeracy"
  • "Also, there needs to be better assessment of the skills that adults have, when they claim unemployment benefit. That is an ideal opportunity to ensure that claimants are assessed for the skills they need to get a job rather than merely their eligibility for benefits."
  • "We are encouraged by the deep commitment and achievements of those engaged in adult learning, but are disturbed by the examples of reductions in Government funding for various schemes, which has caused concern and instability for learners and learning providers alike. This is a short-sighted financial saving which will result in long term costs, as any reduction in provision can only make it harder for adults with limited literacy and numeracy skills to gain employment."

A major advance for e-portfolios

A major advance for e-portfolios
We have advance information from ForSkills that SkillsPortfolio, a “full service” e-portfolio system that manages the complete learner journey and progression is being comprehensively upgraded and enhanced for January. It is a direct competitor to OneFile and Smart Assessor replacing paperwork driven systems and is fully compliant with Ofsted and SFA/EFA audit requirements.
Unique in the market, and representing a major cost saving, SkillsPortfolio will come with a complete range of assessment, diagnostic and resources from ForSkills/Guroo covering all aspects of English and maths, an essential part of every learner’s programme.

More next month ....... if you can't wait till then, have a quick look at this 1 minute introduction video.

Adult Literacy and Numeracy Government response

"We reject the blanket acceptance that GCSEs in English and Maths are the gold standard by which schemes and attainment are measured. GCSEs are not always the most appropriate qualification for adults to work towards"
Extract from the conclusions - Select Committee Report on Adult Literacy and Numeracy.

Couldn't agree more - Functional Skills are almost always the most appropriate!