Monday, 18 January 2016

Edition 209 of the maths and English post-16 newsletter

Edition 209 - Friday January 15th 2016
A busy start to the new year with articles this week all about current policy, possible changes of policy and events that influence policy.
The ETF has launched their Functional Skills Reform consultation yesterday - details are below and we've provided a link to a succinct summary of Nick Boles letter to the SFA about 2016/16 priorities plus we've added a list of key events this quarter.
May we also remind you about the ForSkills Level Checkers?  Just 30p each and available from stock and with free delivery (for orders over £100) they are a great quick and easy to use, paper based tool for pre-enrolment or pre-recruitment. 
As always, feel free to contact Jonathan Wells, the editor of this newsletter on 0191 3055045 or [](

SFA priorities and funding for 2016/17
Every year, the Skills Minister writes to the SFA to outline the key priorities for the coming year.  Nick Boles sent this letter just at the end of last term and we found a [really nice summary of the priorities by NCFE.](
The full letter is here.  and we particularly noted the comments about English and maths.
"Strong literacy and numeracy are closely associated with higher rates of earnings, employment and productivity, as well as civic participation, engagement in children’s education and positive health and well-being. English and maths qualifications are essential for success in other, higher areas of learning and are often required by employers in recruitment. For that reason we will maintain the statutory entitlement to fully-funded English and maths in the AEB to enable adults to progress up to Level 2 and achieve a GCSE in these subjects if they have not already done so.
The English and maths qualifications you should support in 2016/17 are GCSE, Functional Skills qualifications and approved stepping stone qualifications. Please continue your work with the Department for Education to confirm, where appropriate, a single list of stepping stone qualifications. You should continue to support English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) for those learners who need to develop their English language skills as well as their literacy. The current entitlements for full funding will continue to apply but jobseekers referred by jobcentres should be the priority for full funding. We expect ESOL learners to be able to progress to Functional Skills qualifications and GCSE."

ETF launches Functional Skills Reform consultation
The process runs until April 7th and full details are here.
David Russell, ETF Chief Executive, said: “The Education and Training Foundation is delighted to be leading this important piece of work.  Many employers have concerns about the standards of maths and English of prospective employees.  However, of those employers that have first-hand experience of Functional Skills, 87 per cent found them to be a useful qualification.
“GCSE is the principal qualification in England for maths and English, and will remain so.  Many adults – young and older – who have struggled with these subjects at school benefit from being taught Functional Skills because they see clearly how they will benefit them in life and work.
“We are seeking the views of teachers and trainers, employers and their representatives to ensure that our proposals to Ministers are as widely and soundly based as possible.  The aim is then to help learners achieve a recognised qualification that provides them with the skills they need to support them in gaining employment and with everyday life.”

Events coming up

The January to March period is always busy for events - here's a summary of those that are most relevant.

- AoC Teaching Learning and Assessment, 19 January, London. 
- BETT, 20-23 January, London.  Conference and exhibitors who are mainly focussed on the Schools market.
- EM Skills, 28 January, Derby.  Changing the face of Functional Skills conference.
- Learning Technologies, 3-4 February, London.  Major show aimed mainly at Corporates and Training providers.
- AoC English and maths conference, 26 February, London.  English and maths for Colleges.
- Annual Apprenticeship Conference, 16-17 March, Birmingham.  Very important event organised by FE Week held in Apprenticeships week.

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