Monday, 22 August 2016

ForSkills summer update

It's been a busy summer at ForSkills!

On the company side
ForSkills is now part of the NCFE group. NCFE is a major Awarding Organisation well known throughout the sector for innovation, brilliant customer service and a fantastic organisation to work and for! ForSkills will continue to operate as autonomous company but with the backing and financial strength of a major educational charity behind us.

Maths and English
Assessments and diagnostics covering the new GCSE 9-1 specification have been released to support all customers who start delivering these in September.

The ForSkills Go app now includes SkillsBuilder We have added a number of videos for SkillsBuilder (as well as general help and tips videos). These are linked to a learner’s Individual Skills Plan so they will be directed to the videos linked to the topic areas they need to work one.

New Sampling Plan Overview in SkillsPortfolio
We have added a Sampling Plan Overview grid that allows IQAs to see which types of evidence and units they have sampled evidence across from the planned sampling periods. This new grid also allows IQAs to plan the units and evidence type they wish to sample in the future and allows them to see quickly and visually where they have verified according to their plan.

Jonathan Wells
ForSkills, Guroo and NCFE

Apprenticeship Levy Update

Apprenticeship levy update consultation
You can't have missed the news about this. The Government published a discussion paper giving information for all employers on the proposed apprenticeships funding support package that will operate in England from May 2017. It includes how much employers will be able to spend on each apprenticeship and the rules employers will need to follow.

The lists of individual apprenticeships show you the proposed funding bands that will apply from May 2017. It is important to note that this is a consultation and the final support package will be confirmed in October 2016.

Access to the survey is here. Headlines from the update include:
  • No change for English and maths. Training providers received £471 for each of these qualifications, as now when an individual is working towards an apprenticeship standard. This will come direct from the government and will not be deducted from an employer’s digital account.
  • STEM (Science, technology, English and maths) pathways will receive funding increases.
  • The training costs of 16-18 years old in small companies will be fully met by Government with additional incentives for certain categories of apprentice.
  • The Government will pay 90% of the additional costs when the "levy pot" has been used providing the employer meets the 10% in cash.
  • Significant changes to funding rates, which are being replaced by negotiated rates.
  • New training register will be compulsory.
  • Employers can use levy funds to retrain workers in new skills, even if they already have prior qualifications.
  • Large employers with have a "digital account" at launch.
Small employers will have to pay 10% of training costs

Produced by Jonathan Wells
And now NCFE too!

Functional Skills reform programme

Functional Skills Reform Programme

As part of the Functional Skills Reform Programme, alongside the revision to the national standards for adult literacy and numeracy, ETF have also published draft subject content for maths and English Functional Skills qualifications.

The opportunity to comment on the proposed subject content for Functional Skills represents the final stage of the first phase and is open until September 12th.

Meanwhile, the opportunity to comment on the second draft of the revised standards for literacy and numeracy is open until this Friday 19 August - that's 5pm TODAY!

Jonathan Wells
ForSkills and Guroo and now part of the NCFE group too!

Thursday, 7 July 2016

Reform Programme for Functional Skills

Functional Skills Reform Programme
Continuing to the next stage of the Functional Skills Reform Programme, ETF launch the consultation on the draft revised Standards for literacy and numeracy. These draft Standards will be available for feedback from 4th – 25th July.

The questionnaire and a link to both sets of Standards (along with FAQs) are available here: Participation from anyone with an interest in Functional Skills qualifications is welcomed by ETF and PyeTait.

I've read them and what jumps out to me is the extensive "real-life" nature of the examples given and the detail by which the standards are described.

It does show that Functional Skills reform programme is progressing well and I'm confident we'll end up with a rigorous, up to date and valuable set of qualifications moving forward.
Ofsted video about skills development in apprenticeships
Janet Rodgers, Ofsted's National Lead for Apprenticeships talks about developing skills on apprenticeships.

This video is part of a series from Ofsted's national leads, focusing on their specialisms and key issues in these areas

Monday, 4 July 2016

Videos supporting maths and English skills GCSE and Functional Skills

Videos supporting learners in Functional Skills
Probability supporting maths level 1/2 and GCSE.

Writing a letter supporting English level 2 and GCSE - starts with a 2 minute clip from a real telephone complaint.

Possessive apostrophes supporting English at level 2 and GCSE.

Areas of different shapes supporting maths at level 2 and GCSE.

Complex sentences supporting English and entry 3 and level 1.

@if functions in Excel supporting ICT at level 2.

Negative numbers supporting maths at level 1 and level 2.

Suffixes supporting English at Entry 2 and Entry 3.

And finally, a slightly different take on how maths can be used to solve real life problems. This video is from the hugely entertaining and informative TED TALKS that last around 18 minutes. It looks at the maths behind dating with three top tips!

Monday, 20 June 2016

Ofsted focus on English and maths

Ofsted focus on maths and English

FE carry some very interesting data this week about the focus on maths and English applied by Ofsted in their FE inspections and how this is affecting "grades".

The number of inspections since September is up 25% to 51, with data researched by FE Week showing that almost 20% of Colleges have been given Grade 4 - inadequate.

And the major cause in many cases is maths and English. The full article makes an interesting read.

We also noticed a piece on the BBC Education website which raised a smile. I'm not certain how relevant it is the majority of law abiding hard working people in the UK, but the underlying message is very clear. We won't say more, except click here. 

Traineeships and the digital economy

Traineeships and the digital economy

It's generally accepted that Traineeships haven't had the impact that we all thought they would.

Less than 10% of 19-24 year olds who completed a traineeship then went onto to an apprenticeship, a figure that certainly shocked me.

This week, FE Week carries an analysis of research into some of the key reasons why.

Traineeships may be missing the point, on a similar theme; a BBC report about the digital economy also indicates issues.

Whilst 90% of all jobs require "digital skills to some degree", 12.6 million adults lack basic skills and 5.8 million have never used the internet at all.

"Digital exclusion has no place in 21st Century Britain," the Commons Science and Technology Committee said. "While the government is to be commended for the actions taken so far... stubborn digital exclusion and systemic problems with digital education and training need to be addressed as a matter of urgency in the government's forthcoming digital strategy," it continued.