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Apprenticeship Levy

By Andrew Gladstone-Heighton, Policy Leader, Wednesday 17 January 2018

Before Christmas, my colleague Paul Turner wrote this blog about the ongoing saga Training Providers are facing to access £650 million worth of non-levy apprenticeships funding. Despite the precarious position a lot of good and outstanding providers were left in before Christmas, no further reassurances on money have been promised. The Association of Learning Providers had written to the Skills Minister over the break about the untenable situation a lot of providers find themselves currently in. We could cynically interpret the ministers’ lack of a response as Mrs. Milton waiting for the cabinet promotion that was widely speculated was coming her way and, as it transpires, was not offered to her.

New Year, new Education Secretary

By Esme Winch, Managing Director, Wednesday 17 January 2018

Following the New Year’s reshuffle, and Justine Greening’s resignation, we have a new Secretary of State for Education, Damian Hinds MP. An appointment from the Department for Work and Pensions, Damian has written in the past on Social Mobility, which has been a key driver of Theresa May’s policy agenda. His writing has previously focused on the importance of early years foundation stage, entitlement to free childcare and the EBacc as drivers of pupil excellence and social mobility. He has spoken in debates of a government ‘committed to encouraging young people to be in education, training or employment and giving them the chance to progress and achieve, stating that this ‘is critical if we are to improve productivity, promote intergenerational fairness, and tackle poverty and disadvantage.’ Damian Hinds attended St Ambrose College, a Catholic boy’s grammar school. Whether or not this will influence his position on both grammar schools and policies which affect faith schools, will remain to be seen. He is also a strong supporter of the free schools programme. 

Will the Baker Clause forge better working relationships?

By Rachel Hopkins, Marketing Officer, Wednesday 17 January 2018

On 2 January 2018, an amendment to the Technical and Further Education Act came in to effect which could pave the way for new or enhanced working relations between schools and FE providers. The so-called Baker Clause means that it’s now compulsory for all schools to open their doors to allow FE and training providers to advertise their services to pupils. Leaders of local authority-maintained schools and academies will now have to ensure there is an opportunity for a “range of education and training providers” to access pupils aged 13 – 18 and make them aware of the technical options available to them after they leave school.

T-Level consultation

By Andrew Gladstone-Heighton, Policy Leader, Wednesday 17 January 2018

By the time you’re reading this, the consultation on the forthcoming T-level programmes will be drawing to a close. This has been the first real opportunity for people across the sector to give their feedback on the new programme, the qualifications it will contain, and the work placement required for completion.

Important announcement from the Department for Education

By Kievah Wallace, PR and Social Media Officer, Friday 12 January 2018

Technical and applied qualifications in performance tables beyond 2020 It’s the Department for Education’s intention to suspend the approval processes for technical education after the current process for approval for the 2020 performance tables has concluded. Below is the statement from the Department for Education.

Imminent – but not yet: the ongoing apprenticeships non-levy tender saga

By Paul Turner, Futures Leader, Wednesday 20 December 2017

Over the summer of 2017, bid writers, providers and specialist contractors met in huddled groups to prepare their submissions for the second attempt at accessing non-levy apprenticeship funding - £650m of funding to be exact. The first attempt earlier in the year was cancelled with comments that it hadn’t been clearly thought through, and with more submissions than expected coming in being mooted, as well as others being used. Subsequently, and after the snap general election, it was relaunched with a very tight deadline of a few weeks, over a period of time when most skills provider staff were due to be taking a well-earned summer rest and recharge of the batteries in time for the start of the new academic year. That was not to be – 10,000 words were required to determine the future of many organisations.

Another ‘T’ level teaser

By Mick Fletcher, FE Policy Analyst, Wednesday 13 December 2017

There are many mysteries about the government’s approach to developing ‘T’ levels, the most fundamental of which must be what is meant by the word ‘technical’.  Sometimes it seems to refer to technician level occupations that require sub-degree level qualifications; at other times, it is used interchangeably with STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) and at still others seems to mean vocational.  Greater clarity over such a key concept would certainly aid implementation. Less fundamental but even more baffling is the decision that there will be no T levels developed for 4 of the technical routes identified by Lord Sainsbury.  Sainsbury ‘expected’ that these routes would be primarily delivered through apprenticeships though neglected to say why.  Government has had at least 3 formal opportunities to shed light on the issue – in the post-16 skills plan, in the T level action plan, and in the latest consultation paper – but has conspicuously failed to offer any explanation on each occasion.

Learning Curve Group Retain Education Business of the Year Award

By Kievah Wallace, PR and Social Media Officer, Tuesday 12 December 2017

NCFE partner, Learning Curve Group (LCG), has successfully defended the prestigious ‘Education Business of the Year’ award, winning for the second year running at the EducationInvestor Awards. The awards, hosted by Sir Anthony Seldon, a leading contemporary historian, educationalist, commentator and political author and vice-chancellor of The University of Buckingham, was held at London’s Hilton Park Lane in a glittering affair with over 150 businesses in attendance.

Coming to America

By Simon Ashworth, Chief Policy Officer at AELP, Friday 24 November 2017

President Trump wants 5 million apprenticeships in the USA by 2020. A trailblazer delegation from the UK visited Washington DC in November this year to find out more and here, Simon Ashworth, Chief Policy Officer at AELP, shares his thoughts and findings on the current approach and future plans for apprenticeships in the USA. I always like to get my thoughts down whilst they are nice and fresh in my mind, so I pen this blog in the back of a taxi on the way from Downtown Washington DC back to Dulles International Airport, before hitting the ‘red-eye’ flight back to Heathrow. Washington is a great city with welcoming people, and I was lucky enough to be on a great delegation party with fifteen senior colleagues from the sector. I’ve not even got back to the UK yet and I’ve already had a plethora of questions about the apprenticeship opportunities in the USA! Is the USA really the ‘land of opportunity’ for providers?

Did my wishes come true?

By Andrew Gladstone-Heighton, Policy Leader, Thursday 23 November 2017

The Chancellor set out his budget that would invest in skills and employment – as well as setting out his vision for the future economy.   There were a number of measures outlined for Education and Skills, so let’s see how they stack up against my pre-budget wish list:


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