Monday, 11 November 2013

Newsletter November 12th

November 12th - the Functional Skills newsletter
Sharp eyed readers will have noticed that the normal fortnightly newsletter didn't arrive last week.  A combination of the editors (my) hard disk crashing, house move and man flu (please no sympathy needed) led to a one week delay.
So this week we have articles on the Government's focus on English and maths, an update on events and webinars, and support for Functional Skills from AELP.
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 -
AELP backs Functional Skills
"Functional Skills can deliver what employers need" is the headline of a piece by Stella Turner of the AELP in supporting Functional Skills in Apprenticeships published by FE Week.  Stella goes on to say:
"Employers are beginning to recognise that as well as developing vital skills in English and maths, functional skills can help young people apply skills to different contexts, solve problems, use their initiative and work independently."
AELP support for Functional Skills comes hard on the heels of various Government announcements about the future of Maths and English in Apprenticeships (see next article).  
Massive changes to Maths and English planned by 2017
The Government lead the way with multiple announcements about Maths and English with the publication of the Apprenticeship Implementation Plan. New GCSE's lasting two years with a single end of course exam; a requirement for all learners to continue studying maths to age 18, even where GCSE A*-C has already been obtained; changes to the way GCSE are graded and performance tables work; there really is a lot going at the moment, most of it with a medium term outlook. For more detailed information, the BBC report on GCSE grades and the FE Week 16 page supplement about Maths and English including Functional Skills are worth a good read.   It can be hard to summarise as the picture does change regularly, but it looks like the key dates to consider at the moment are:
  • From 2017/18, all apprenticeships will be based on the new standards with relevant changes to the funding frameworks. 
  • A transition period starting 2015 will lead to this with new Apprenticeship standards and qualifications developed (to replace frameworks) in 2013 and 2014.
  • The requirements for English maths start to get implemented from September 2014 when, irrespective of framework requirements, all learners will be required to study to level 2 Functional Skills
Stronger requirements from 2015 eventually leading to the requirement that all apprenticeships will need to have GCSE English and Maths (likely to be from 2017 and based on the new GCSE specifications with first teaching in 2015).
Key events coming up
Guroo Open Training Sessions are selling out fast.  The first session in Milton Keynes filled up straight away, the second is also full.  We will organise more - in the meantime, the first Northern event is in Manchester on 11th February.  This event features Sandra Kay (Head of Skills) for North Lancs Training Group as the invited guest speaker.  Click to view and book!
EMSkills have announced a date for the Maths and English Skills Conference of January 31st 2014, again at the Paragon Hotel, Birmingham.  Always well attended and informative, early bird prices are available for delegates now.  As usual, this event is being supported by Guroo and other Functional Skills providers. 
The Learning and Skills show runs alongside the Learning technologies exhibition and takes place on 29th and 30th January at Olympia in London.  All of the leading Functional Skills companies are expected to be there, Guroo will be on stand 329.
Apprenticeships 4 England are running their conference in London on March 4/5. Another very well attended show, expected to be supported by all the major Functional Skills providers including Guroo.
Wednesday Webinar at 4.00pm

"Guide to Guroo videos" is Wednesday's webinar with Jonathan Wells, on Wednesday 13th November at 4pm.  
A guided tour of nearly 100 tutorial and admin support videos - this is a guide as to what they are and where to find them!  Join us live, but 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
Join us on Wednesday 13th 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 and we’ll take it from there.

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