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ESFA Update: 17 October 2018

Latest information and actions from the Education and Skills Funding Agency for academies, schools, colleges, local authorities and further education providers.

Assisting Adults with Autism
October 17, 2018
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Many people who live on the autism spectrum are under- or unemployed, but with some support, this differently talented group can offer a lot to the workforce By Sarah Taylor and Dr Anna-Lisa CiccocioppImage result for Autism

Autism Spectrum Disorder is commonly thought of as a childhood condition but in fact, ASD is a life-long neurological difference. Children will rarely lose the diagnosis as they get older, and an increasing number of individuals are being diagnosed as adults.

Statistics from the U.S.-based Center for Disease Control in 2016 indicate that as many as one in 68 children were diagnosed, and statistical trends across various sources suggest that the number of individuals identified on the spectrum is growing considerably.
What is autism? The diagnostic criteria according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) include persistent deficits in social communication and social interaction across multiple contexts, as manifested by deficits in social-emotional reciprocity, non-verbal communicative behaviours used for social interaction, and in developing, maintaining and understanding relationships. Autism is a spectrum disorder, meaning that there is a wide degree of variation in the way it affects people, but they have a shared core of traits. The level of (dis)ability and the combination of traits varies tremendously from person to person. In fact, two people with the same diagnosis may have very different behaviours, abilities and life outcomes.
Youth Unemployment Down 50% Since 2010
October 16, 2018
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Official figures, released by the Office for National Statistics today, show that youth unemployment has halved since 2010.

The figures also show that the unemployment rate of 4.0% has not been lower since 1975. Real wages are up for the seventh month in a row, rising by 0.7% above inflation and employment remained high at 75.5%, up 0.4% points on the year.

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The proportion of young people who are unemployed is at a new record low, as more than 120,000 more young people have a job than in 2010. At the same time, fewer children are now growing up in a home without any adults in work than ever before. There are 637,000 fewer children in this position than in 2010, helping inspire more young people into work themselves. Read more

Education Committee Chair Writes to Chancellor on Further Education Funding
October 16, 2018
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Robert Halfon MP, Chair of the Education Committee, has written to the Chancellor of the Exchequer to highlight the stark disparity between funding for pre- and post-16 education and urge the Government to ‘look very carefully’ at the core level of funding for FE ahead of the Budget and Spending Review

In the letter  181015 – Chair to Chancellor on FE funding the Chair states that

‘it cannot be right that a funding ‘dip’ exists for students between the ages of 16 and 18, only to rise again in higher education’. The letter adds that ‘successive governments have failed to give further education the recognition it deserves for the role it pays in our national productivity puzzle’.

The Committee is currently conducting an inquiry into the level and distribution of school and college funding and last week heard from a panel on the current issues faced by the FE sector.

ViewPoint: Jim Carley on 3aaa
October 16, 2018
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There is a well-known proverb, which I am sure you know: “fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.” says Jim CarleJim Carley, Managing Director, Carley Consult Ltd

The Department for Education were arguably made to look like fools when Learndirect first started to unravel.

Barely a year later and the latest scandal to shake the apprenticeship sector is the sudden and seismic demise of 3aaa, and it looks like the Department may have been fooled again.

Police Investigation

It’s still not 100% clear what went wrong at 3aaa, and we may have to wait some time before the whole story is fully known.

Problems began over the summer when their latest Ofsted inspection, which many perceived would result in them sustaining their previous outstanding rating, was declared incomplete.

The latest allegation suggests that 3aaa had spent more than £1.6m on professional sports sponsorship between 2015 and 2018, despite making £2.8m in pre-tax losses in the 18 months to January 2018. Read more

FE Providers Benefit from Scheme to Boost Teaching Workforce
October 14, 2018
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Eighty new expert teachers to be recruited from industry into further education through the £5 million Taking Teaching Further programme.

Skills Minister Anne Milton announced on 12 October 2018 the first 37 providers to receive funding from the Taking Teaching Further (TTF) programme, which has been set up to help recruit the best and brightest candidates from industry into the post-16 and further education workforce and support an ongoing exchange between industry and FE.

The colleges and providers, in areas ranging from Cumbria and Northumberland to Kent and Norwich, will aim to recruit the country’s first 80 TTF teachers from specific sectors and encourage them to retrain to work in those institutions.

Alongside the support to train new teachers, 20 innovative projects are also being funded totalling over £900,000 to explore how industry and the further education sector can work together to make sure students gain the knowledge and skills businesses really need.

Taking Teaching Further was launched in June as a pilot programme to further boost the quality of the post-16 teaching workforce by bringing in more diverse experiences and skills.

Read more

AI Is A Door To Productivity Gains, But Data Literacy Holds the Key
October 14, 2018
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The report below by Andy Cotgrave (pictured right) for FE News warns of a potential skills shortage and also highlights the growing call for data literacyAndy Cotgreave, Technical Evangelist and Senior Director, Tableau
Productivity is a very British problem. According to the latest figures from the OECD, us Brits are among the hardest workers in Europe, averaging three hours per week more than average across the EU.

When it comes to overall productivity, the amount of meaningful output we achieve during that time, we are 26 percent less effective than the average worker in Germany.

Expert opinion is converging around the idea that technologies including Artificial Intelligence (AI) may hold the keys to solving Britain’s productivity puzzle. The UK government has put investment in AI and data at the core of recently published industrial strategy whitepapers.

As much as this approach seems sensible however, there is a danger that we focus too much on the technology itself and too little on what we actually want to do with it.

Read more

A Robot Will Appear Before the Education Select Committee
October 14, 2018
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A robot will appear before a select committee for what is believed to be the first time when Pepper answers questions from the Education Committee during a session on the Fourth Industrial Revolution and the implications for education of developments in artificial intelligence

Pepper is part of an international research project developing the world’s first culturally aware robots aimed at assisting with care for older people. The Committee will hear about her work with students across the faculties at Middlesex University, including a project involving teaching primary level children, and what role increased automation and robotics might play in the workplace and classroom of the future.

After a demonstration by Pepper, the Committee will explore with witnesses, including those from Middlesex University, how robots can be used to support learning, and the skills needed to adapt to the growth in artificial intelligence and automation.

The Committee will first question a panel of experts on the suitability of the current school curriculum, the importance of re-skilling and lifelong learning and the effect of the Fourth Industrial Revolution on social justice. Read more

House of Commons Library Briefing Paper
October 12, 2018
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This House of Commons Library briefing paper looks at the requirements on schools, colleges and universities in England to provide careers guidance, the quality of the advice provided, and also the organisations working to provide careers adviceImage result for house of commons library

Jump to full report >>

This briefing applies to England only.

State-funded schools

Since September 2013, local authority maintained schools have been under a duty to provide impartial careers guidance to pupils from years 8 to 13 (ages 12-18).

The Department for Education has published statutory guidance(most recently updated in January 2018) for maintained schools on their duty to provide careers guidance.

Many academies and free schools are subject to the duties relating to careers guidance through their funding agreements, including those which opened from September 2012 onwards and those which have moved to an updated funding agreement. Academies without the requirement are encouraged to follow the guidance as a statement of good practice.  There is also separate non-statutory ‘good practice’ DfE guidance on this issue.

Read more

Amanda Spielman Speech
October 12, 2018
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Ofsted’s Chief Inspector discussed the reasoning behind our proposals for the 2019 education inspection framework:

Good morning and thank you for inviting me to be here today.

I always like getting to the north of England – being from Scotland myself, it’s not quite all the way home, but it’s good to be here.

And this isn’t my first time with you here. I came to speak to SCHOOLS NE as Chair of Ofqual, back in 2015, when we had what I remember being an interesting and challenging morning – with a good discussion with Mike and several of you over lunch afterwards.

And it is always good to be out talking to a dedicated group of professionals. I know that in recent years, the collective efforts of schools in the North East have made a real difference to children’s education. And as I hope I said back in 2015, I am greatly impressed by the SCHOOLS NorthEast model. The level of engagement and support for local schools is clearly very high, and it is great to see how this group is promoting constructive discussion and acting as a catalyst for change.

I suspect a number of you were in the audience last month, when our Regional Director, Cathy Kirby, and her team were presenting an Ofsted update. Read more