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Time to protect learners from the FE loan scandal

By Nick Linford, Writing exclusively for NCFE, Tuesday 28 February 2017

FE loans are a relatively new way to fund courses but through no fault of their own, adults are already being left with government debts for cancelled courses. The short-term solution for government, to write the debt off, is both simple and obvious. But it is important to also learn from why and how the loans were introduced.


Devolution Road – marking the milestone in employment and skills

By Kirsty McHugh, Chief Executive of ERSA, Tuesday 21 February 2017

There was a little-reported but critical announcement made this month about London and Greater Manchester (GM) commissioning their own employment support – services that help jobseekers into work – as part of the new nationally commissioned Work and Health Programme.  This is an important milestone in the government’s devolution agenda, as well as in the future design of employment and skills services.



Will the progress made by Progress 8 be short-lived?

By Esme Winch, Managing Director, Thursday 16 February 2017

While there has been an improvement in the number of schools falling below the new Progress 8 floor standard, it remains to be seen whether this will continue as different ways of calculating the measure are introduced. On 19 January the Times Educational Supplement reported that nearly 300 schools have now fallen below the new Progress 8 floor standard. This is an improvement on the number last summer, which was reported to be 329.



Public sector targets for apprenticeships

By Michael Lemin, Policy Leader, Thursday 16 February 2017

The government’s target for public sector bodies to employ an average of 2.3% of their workforce as apprentices may affect more schools than initially thought. But will the target have a positive or negative effect, and is there an incentive for schools to achieve it? In January, the government confirmed that public sector bodies will be expected to employ an average of 2.3% of their workforce as apprentices. This will apply to organisations with a headcount of above 250 from April 2017 to 2020/21. Crucially, this target also applies to schools.



Apprenticeships hit the mainstream

By Esme Winch, Managing Director, Thursday 16 February 2017

Earlier this month, the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) launched its Green Budget at the City of London’s Guildhall. An in depth discussion of apprenticeship reform took place, with the IFS presenting its thoughts on the Apprenticeship Levy as well as several concerns that NCFE shares, such as the risk of increasing the quantity of apprenticeships at the expense of quality. In recent years, apprenticeships have remained somewhat on the fringes of the education establishment, often viewed as an alternative to traditional routes in to work for the less able or privileged. From the discussions that have taken place, such as the one that took place at the City of London’s Guildhall, apprenticeships are now very much part of the national economic dialogue.



Post-16 Skills Plan - A Monopoly on Qualifications?

By Michael Lemin, Policy Leader, Thursday 16 February 2017

Following a review led by Lord Sainsbury, the government's Post-16 Skills Plan proposes overhauling technical education for 16-18 year olds. The unintended consequences of the policy could potentially cause more harm than good – here we look at the Plan in more detail. The principles behind the reforms are admirable; aligning the skills system to needs of employers, eliminating 'low value' qualifications that are of little use to learners, and ensuring financial sustainability of the system. Unfortunately, as the policies emerge and are put into practice, there are serious concerns about the negative impact this could have on learners, educators and employers.



Tendering for Adult Education and Training Services: By invitation only?

By Andrew Gladstone-Heighton, Policy Leader, Thursday 16 February 2017

The Skills Funding Agency (SFA) has now released its invitation to tender for adult education and training services. We look at what this means for the tendering landscape and the specifics of your contract that might make your tender more likely to succeed. After much delay, the Skills Funding Agency (SFA) has now released its invitation to tender for adult education and training services. The much anticipated document sets out what training the SFA is looking for from providers for the 2017/18 funding year.



Find out how NCFE’s Functional Skills can benefit you and your learners

By Alexandra Shaw, PR Officer, Friday 27 January 2017

We offer lots of resources to support your delivery of our Functional Skills qualifications. These include Qualification Support Packs, Chief Examiner Reports and Amplification Guides to equip you to deliver the qualifications in a way that will ensure the best results for you and your learners. You’ll also get free access to ForSkills’ initial assessment and diagnostic tool, which supports learners’ progression and prepares them for their external assessment. This tool is vital for ensuring that your learners are learning at a level appropriate to them, and automatic signposting to interactive resources provides targeted teaching for each learner to address any skills gaps detected by the assessment process. This helps to ensure that they’re able to achieve the qualification.



Looking ahead: what's to come for schools and technical education?

By Esme Winch, Managing Director, Thursday 19 January 2017

However you view it, 2016 was certainly an eventful year with significant repercussions on the national and international policy stage, and we’re now left with the political aftermath of last year. The invocation of Article 50 is due in the first quarter of this year. Although the government is keeping its own counsel on the precise nature of Brexit, restrictions on the movement of workers from the EU into the UK will mean skills gaps will grow in the UK workforce. In this instance, technical education will be more important than ever to support employers in plugging these skills gaps. Schools will play a key role in offering technical education options to young people looking to broaden their employment or study options after completing their studies.



Will 2017 be a key transition year for technical education?

By Esme Winch, Managing Director, Wednesday 18 January 2017

However you view it, 2016 was certainly an eventful year with significant repercussions on the national and international policy stage, and we’re now left with the political aftermath of last year. The invocation of Article 50 is due in the first quarter of this year. Although the government is keeping its own counsel on the precise nature of Brexit, restrictions on the movement of workers from the EU into the UK will mean skills gaps will grow in the UK workforce. In this instance, technical education will be more important than ever to support employers in plugging these skills gaps.



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