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This evening, University College London’s Centre for Post-14 Education and Work will host a seminar to highlight the recent NCFE-sponsored report, “Reforming Technical and Professional Education: Why should it work this time?”, which was published with the Campaign for Learning and written by independent policy consultant Mick Fletcher. As UCL Honorary Research Fellow, Mick Fletcher will lead the seminar, and it will be chaired by Professor Martin Doel. The aim of the session is to further explore the implications of the Post-16 Skills Plan and reform of technical and professional education.


Surprise election leaves us guessing

By Esme Winch, Managing Director, Thursday 18 May 2017

Much like the rest of the nation, the election announcement certainly took us by surprise. What now follows is the usual pause to decision making due to Purdah, and we can consider what changes an election may bring to our sector. To address the contentious issue of schools funding reform, the Conservative manifesto has promised a funding floor so that no child will lose out through the funding reforms.



We consider the possible impact of the general election

By Esme Winch, Managing Director, Thursday 18 May 2017

Much like the rest of the nation, the election announcement certainly took us by surprise. What now follows is the usual pause to decision making due to Purdah, and we can consider what changes an election may bring to our sector.  Many of the policies outlined by the Conservative manifesto, in relation to apprenticeships and technical education, are those proposed by the previous (coalition) government. The broad direction of travel remains the same as set out in their manifesto, keeping the target of 3 million apprenticeship starts.  However, they do highlight that further funding reforms are on the horizon, with ‘a wholesale review of tertiary education’ on the cards.



Dealing with dementia

By Alexandra Shaw, PR Officer, Tuesday 16 May 2017

This week, Alzheimer’s Society is highlighting dementia with its annual Dementia Awareness Week, and it’s a good time to talk about this disease and how we can help those suffering with it. Dementia now affects 850,000 people in the UK, and the numbers are sadly rising because we’re living longer. One in three people over 65 will develop dementia, and two-thirds of people with dementia are women. It’s estimated that by 2021, the number of people with dementia in the UK will have increased to around 1 million.



UTCs and Studio Schools – a post-14 fiasco

By Mick Fletcher, FE Policy Analyst, Friday 12 May 2017

It seems nowadays that hardly a week goes by without the announcement of the closure of another University Technical College (UTC) or their lower status sibling, a Studio School. They are struggling to recruit, achieving poor grades from Ofsted and failing to establish financial viability. Institutions, that were so admired in the abstract, that both Labour and Conservative politicians proposed to open one in every town, have proved to be seriously flawed in practice. It is not surprising that this catalogue of failures has been greeted with barely disguised glee by some parts of the battered FE sector. Having initially been patronised and excluded by Lord Baker, the architect of this new approach, colleges have increasingly been called in to bail them out.  Yet schadenfreude, however understandable, is the wrong reaction.  Whatever else this is, it is a serious failure of a well-intentioned initiative to boost vocational education and give it status.   It is imperative to understand what went wrong.



Why 3 million is just a start

By Nick Linford, Writing exclusively for NCFE, Thursday 11 May 2017

When it comes to manifesto promises, the trick is to keep it simple and easy to measure whether the commitment has been achieved.  That’s what the Conservative manifesto got right with its pledge to fund 3 million apprenticeship starts during the parliament. Now let me acknowledge this quickly.  An input target isn’t enough; it doesn’t have enough detail to address the important issues of access, quality, progression and so on.



Stroke Awareness Month: Make May Purple

By Rachel Hopkins, Marketing Officer, Thursday 11 May 2017

Taking place every year in May, the Stroke Association aims to raise awareness of strokes and the effects felt by those individuals who they afflict, and the impact on friends and families through their ‘Make May Purple’ campaign. They honour this month by encouraging fundraising to continue the research into prevention, and to develop recovery methods to best enable stroke survivors to rebuild their lives. Stroke is the fourth single leading cause of death in the UK and the leading cause of disability. Greater understanding of the symptoms and what the implications are when treatment is not quickly received is vital to ensuring that those affected by stroke have the best possible chance of recovery.



Raising awareness of mental health

By Alexandra Shaw, PR Officer, Monday 08 May 2017

NCFE is supporting Mental Health Awareness Week, which is in progress across the UK and encourages everyone to talk about this important issue. This year, the Mental Health Foundation asks why so few of us – just 13% – are thriving with good mental health. With the theme of the campaign this year being ‘Surviving or Thriving?’, the Mental Health Foundation is looking at this topic from a new angle. They state: “Good mental health is more than the absence of a mental health problem. Rather than ask why so many people are living with mental health problems, we will seek to uncover why too few of us are thriving with good mental health.”



Mental Health Awareness Week: Are your pupils surviving or thriving?

By Alexandra Shaw, PR Officer, Monday 08 May 2017

Led by the Mental Health Foundation, the theme of this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week, currently underway from 8 – 12 May, is aiming to prompt a national conversation about what we can do as communities, schools, families and individuals to move from survive to thrive. They have said that “This year rather than ask why so many people are living with mental health problems, we will seek to uncover why too few of us are thriving with good mental health.”. It’s therefore a good time to look at the status of mental health among young people, and the extent of the role that schools can, or should, play in supporting those that need help.  



The waiting game

By Esme Winch, Managing Director, Thursday 20 April 2017

Once again, we’re experiencing a frustrating wait for the update to the Department for Education performance tables, with the possibility that this could be delayed even further thanks to this week’s surprise announcement of a snap general election. We appreciate that the initial performance tables were released very late, and that this has repercussions when setting out options for your pupils­ or planning the curriculum for next year.



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