Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Functional Skills Newsletter Nov 30th

Our fortnightly look at the world of Functional Skills.

In this issue, BIS launch Skills for Sustainable Growth; our take on the White Paper; fact, rumour and predictions we picked up at the conference and more regional conferences announced with a link to the London event presentations.

Vince Cable and John Hayes launch Skills for Sustainable Growth - After a three month consultation, BIS have published their strategy for skills and FE. Click here for a quick link. We noted paragraph 20 of the "investing" document goes a lot further than ever before in suggesting that Functional Skills will replace current Adult Basic Skills from 2012/13.

The Education White Paper - We went through all 90 pages of the "Importance of Teaching" white paper with a fine tooth comb and whilst there is no specific reference to Functional Skills, there is certainly nothing negative either. Here's three items we picked out:

"We will review the operation of the current ‘basic skills’ tests of literacy and numeracy which teachers are required to pass before they can practice. We will make sure student teachers take the test at the start rather than the end of the course, reduce the scope for retaking (currently one in seven teachers re-sits one of the tests more than three times), and strengthen the rigour of the tests to ensure they set a high enough standard." Editors note - is this Functional Skills for teachers perhaps?

"While good vocational qualifications are important and valuable, too many young people are following courses because they are easy for schools or colleges to deliver or because they confer advantages in the accountability system."

"Professor Wolf will also consider what controls are needed to ensure that vocational qualifications offered to students in schools, colleges or independent training providers up to the age of 19 are as robust and appropriate as GCSEs and A Levels."

Fact, predictions and rumours! Coming as a direct result of the conversations we had at the Making Sense of Functional Skills conference, we think:

  • Fact - From August 2011, the Adult Literacy and Adult Numeracy qualifications, will not be approved under Section 96 and therefore will not be eligible for public funding for young people (under the age of 19 years). Click here for more information on Section 96. Editors note - this link is also great for seeing which qualifications are approved.
  • Prediction - We are starting to hear about good empirical evidence that shows Functional Skills improves GCSE attainment. We'll keep all readers informed of what we find out.
  • Rumour - Key skills will get another terms stay of execution for those enrolled on Apprenticeships now.

Regional Conferences - After the success of the first event in London (the pic below was taken at the conference) we're planning four more. Oldham and Exeter are planned for late February/early March with Walsall and Grantham early/mid June. Go to www.guroo.info/events to download presentations from London.

Functional Skills resources from Guroo

Next issue! The next issue of the Functional Skills newsletter will be back to the regular schedule on Tuesday 14th December. If you have a story, a question or a suggestion - please contact jwells@guroo.co.uk Please also feel free to forward this newsletter to your Functional Skills friends, it's free, informative and occasionally just a little bit of fun.

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