Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Functional Skills Newsletter, 26th November

In this issue we come back to the issue of English and maths and how policy is developing.  Whilst the short term is secure (GCSE or Functional Skills) there may be lots of changes planned for 2017 when the requirement for continuing study in English and maths will be "stepped up".
We've also got news of an important new product from Guroo - KISS Assessment for Functional Skills is a simple and straightforward assessment that produces a full diagnostic for Functional Skills - and nothing else and is designed for those who just "want the diagnostic".  Finally, we have news of recorded and live webinars.
As always, we aim to send this newsletter out every two weeks, your comments and thoughts are always appreciated - let us know what you'd like us to cover in the newsletter by emailing the editor - jwells@guroo.co.uk

GCSE, Bite Size or Functional Skills in 2017?
In the words of the late Clive Dunn "don't panic", as it will be four years before any changes are likely to come into place.  Nevertheless, policy is being formed as we speak so it's a timely chance to look at the options for English and maths, and indeed for vocational education as a whole.
We've seen over the last few weeks a definite shift in moving Apprenticeships "upmarket". Research from EDGE and C&G suggests that employers agree with this view, the BBC report on the same subject was equally supportive.
Common to all these themes is the need to put more emphasis on English and maths.  Last month, The Government indicated GCSE was their preferred "long term aim", AELP rejected this saying GCSE wasn't fit for purpose with limited assessment windows and supported Functional Skills.  This week, we see support for "Stepping Stone or Progression" qualifications as being another route towards GCSE, not unreasonable as these "bite sized" qualifications are often described as "little bits of Functional Skills".  
So the outcome? None yet, but if you have a view, let us know and we'll try to draw views together.
Simple, straightforward self-registered initial assessment and diagnostic from Guroo - now available from 95p
In direct response to customer demand, the Guroo guys have developed a brand new, simple, straightforward, easy to use, "does what it says on the tin" initial assessment for Functional Skills that produces a detailed diagnostic mapped to all Functional Skills criteria automatically and instantly.
We've called it KISS Assess for Functional Skills.  Why KISS?  It's a bit of an in-house secret but if you call us, we'll tell you!
KISS Assess for Functional Skills uses self -registration, so it's absolutely perfect for pre-recruitment or interview where you'd like potential learners to arrive with a completed Functional Skills level and diagnostic.  
A typical learner will complete each subject assessment in around 40 minutes, and with no tutor marking needed, plus Guroo's famous rigour and expert knowledge of Functional Skills comes as standard.
Want to know more - call us and we'll show you in a webinar, or join us on Wednesday at 4.00pm for KISS Functional Skills webinar.
OCR Blog - Initial and Diagnostic Assessment - an engaging tool? 
A nice little piece looking at some of the wider advantages of a rigorous initial assessment and diagnostic tool written by Garry Haynes of OCR.
It also brings attention back to the need for rigour in initial assessment, and with the Ofsted focus on "stretch", using an initial assessment and diagnostic tool that is rigorous is very important.  After all, a learner with a marginal level 1 assessment will be expected to move straight to level 2, a challenge for many learners in that category.
If you'd like to receive a copy of the White Paper - Initial Assessment in Functional Skills, simply email us and we'll send you a pdf copy by return.
Wednesday Webinar at 4.00pm
"KISS Assess for Functional Skills" is Wednesday's webinar with Jonathan Wells, on Wednesday 27th November at 4pm.  
A guided tour of the simple and straightforward assessment tool that produces a full Functional Skills diagnostic and nothing else!  We record every session as we know that many more people enjoy coming back for the recording afterwards, so if you want to join or just want to watch the recording, just drop an email to info@guroo.co.uk
Join us on Wednesday 27th November at 4pm.
All previous webinars are recorded and available anytime for playback - login as a guest and the password is password.  Simply click on the links below and don’t forget, if you’d like to have your own 1:1 webinar looking at how Guroo can help you support Functional Skills, just call us on 0191 305 5045 or email info@guroo.co.uk and we’ll take it from there.

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