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The tuition fees debate

By Kathryn Bradbeer, Work Experience Student, Friday 09 March 2018

The university tuition fees debate, has once again arisen in the news and work experience student, Kathryn, explores the issue further from the perspective of someone on the cusp of making decisions on her future. Recent news reports suggest that universities are currently charging the maximum fee for a university course, standing at a huge £9250 a year. With this in mind, some have accused universities of taking advantage of students who feel forced to pay the fee with a lack of information about alternatives available for them.

Is social media causing depression amongst young people?

By Kathryn Bradbeer, Work Experience Student, Thursday 08 March 2018

In response to a recent BBC report regarding the link between social media and mental health issues amongst young people, NCFE work experience student Kathryn Bradbeer, 17, explores the issue further. Social media, popular, relevant and possibly dangerous, but addictive never the less. The constant bombardment of updates, invites and opportunities, has been recognised to have created intense pressure on users and also on society.

International Women’s Day 2018

By Louise Geddis-Regan, Innovation Marketing Officer, Thursday 08 March 2018

International Women’s Day, 2018. The year of #Vote100. Today has a lot of resonance. We want to celebrate International Women’s Day by highlighting women who make a difference by harnessing the power of education through innovation and inclusivity. These inspirational women are some of the many working across the sector who embody our aspirations to help change the lives of our learners and support people to progress and achieve.

Supporting apprenticeships, creating opportunities.

By Kievah Wallace, PR and Social Media Officer, Wednesday 07 March 2018

“Being an apprentice at NCFE has given me an amazing opportunity to learn new skills, not only with my course but in the working world. I’m made to feel like a valued member of my team and not ‘just an apprentice’, under excellent management and mentorship I feel I am able to develop my abilities and take on new challenges.”Nicola Burlison, NCFE apprentice.

NCFE appointed as end-point assessment organisation for Virgin Trains

By Kievah Wallace, PR and Social Media Officer, Wednesday 07 March 2018

Left to right - Richard Turner, Lisa Hibbard, Charlotte Lord, John Giannasi, Julia Gallimore, Peter Dick, Zena Albachari.

NCFE launches new EPA platform

By Kievah Wallace, PR and Social Media Officer, Thursday 22 February 2018

Apprenticeships are going through their most significant transformation for a generation. NCFE is one of the few recognised assessment organisations approved by the Education & Skills Funding Agency to deliver end-point assessment and offers support in a variety of sectors and subject areas. Keen to offer NCFE customers the best experience in the new world of end-point assessment, we scoured the market to find the best technological solution to help deliver our excellent service. Smart Apprentices (part of Smart Assessor) have created SmartEPA, a bespoke platform exclusively designed for the new style of end-point assessments for apprenticeships and together, we’re providing a market-leading service to achieve maximum outcomes for our customers and learners.

Learners set to lose out as direct entry is withdrawn

By Rachel Hopkins, Marketing Officer, Tuesday 20 February 2018

Learners could be set to suffer as a result of colleges withdrawing their provision for 14-16 year olds, also known as “direct entry”.  Pupils seeking an establishment which offers technical alternatives to GCSEs, could find that their local college is no longer catering for their age group. FE Week recently reported that 2 large college groups are withdrawing their direct entry solutions in a bid to save their reputations. The accountability measures that are applied to Key Stage 4 pupils, known as Progress 8, have been found to have a negative impact on their overall average. Data released by the department for Education show that all but one college are underperforming against the government floor standard of –0.5. Colleges are arguing that this data is misleading as these learners are an extremely small proportion of their overall learner population.

Tables must continue to turn

By Lucy Thompson, Product Manager, Monday 19 February 2018

This month, we wrote to you to let you know about some changes that the Department for Education (DfE) had made in relation to qualifications on the published list of approved qualifications, for key stage 4 and key stage 5. The decision to suspend the approvals process for technical qualifications means that there will be no new qualifications available after those on the 2020 performance tables. 

Mending the gap

By Esme Winch, Managing Director, Monday 19 February 2018

At the end of January, NCFE and Campaign for Learning were delighted to publish our latest policy whitepaper, Mending the gap: are the needs of 16-18 year olds being met? Written by John Widdowson, Principal of New College Durham, the paper explores whether raising the participation age has worked, and makes a number of recommendations that could be taken to strengthen the policy. The paper acknowledges some success in lowering the numbers of young people not in employment, education or training (NEET), but shines a light on a significant number of young people not participating up to age 18. For some people, the transition form school into further learning is a difficult one, and more could be done to support them.

Talk of a ‘vocational route’ is a dead end

By Mick Fletcher, FE Policy Analyst, Wednesday 14 February 2018

Two big conceptual problems bedevil the debate about T levels. One, which I’ve written about at length elsewhere, is that people who should really know better persist in talking about technical education when they actually mean training for technicians. The other is the constant reference to a ‘vocational route’, usually followed by the assertion that only snobbery prevents its having parity of esteem with the academic. The problem with this presentation is that it sets vocational education up to fail. The academic route is designed specifically to facilitate progression. GCSEs sort out who will do A levels which in turn largely sorts out who will study for degrees. Although it’s often exaggerated, such qualifications are not especially good at getting people ‘work ready’. That is because they are not designed to.


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