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Qualifications – What Qualifications? Deregulation of Qualifications in England
November 21, 2018

The following article is by Ann Gravells, Author and Education Consultant.

If you are a practitioner in the further education, training and skills’ sector, it can be confusing knowing which qualification you should hold.Ann Gravells, Author and Education Consultant

I say ‘should’ hold, but you might not need one since the deregulation of qualifications in England in 2013 (there are different requirements for the other nations).

It’s now the responsibility of the individual employer, college or university to make the decision as to what qualifications their staff should hold. However, there might be requirements to hold certain teaching and/or subject qualifications as part of the programme being taught and assessed.

Practitioners are ‘dual professionals’ i.e. they are a subject expert as well as a teacher, trainer, assessor or quality assurer.

Teachers and trainers

The most popular qualifications for teachers and trainers are the:

  • Level 3 Award in Education and Training (AET)
  • Level 4 Certificate in Education and Training (CET)
  • Level 5 Diploma in Education (and Specialised Diploma) (DET).

Read more

ViewPoint: Why We Should Scrap GCSEs – Alice Barnard, Chief Executive of Edge
May 1, 2018

Former skills minster and current chair of the Education Select Committee, Rob Halfon MP, has called for GCSEs to be scrapped. The exams regulator Ofqual reports that the number of people who understand GCSEs well has fallen since last year from 70 percent last to just 62 percent.

Alarmingly, over a third of employers are not aware that 9 is now the top GCSE grade, 23 percent think 1 is the best grade and another 13 percent haven’t a clue! Even more alarming is that six percent of teachers think 1 is the highest GCSE grade!

Given that employers consistently say that exam grades are not at the top of their list of recruitment criteria, surely it’s time we should rethink how we measure the skills, knowledge and aptitudes of young people?

GCSEs are very good for measuring if students are good at passing exams, but not necessarily an indication of employability skills or even academic prowess. A GCSE in maths does not necessarily make you numerate.

Teachers often talk resentfully about ‘teaching to the test’ and the curriculum time taken up with drilling students in exam questions, which could be spent on acquiring a richer and deeper subject knowledge and understanding.

That manner of inquiry also helps to develop the research skills, resilience and creativity which employers value, but also better equips young people to succeed in further and higher education. Read more

The Costs of Failing Exams
April 18, 2018

Research by the Centre for Vocational Education find that pupils who do not achieve a pass in GCSE English have a high chance of leaving education.

Yet achieving a grade C increased the probability of starting a higher-level academic or vocational level qualification within three years by “6 and 9 percentage points”.

Dr Ruiz-Valenzuela, co-author of the paper, said that the study suggests “young people are not getting the support they need if they fail to make the grade…the marginal student who is unlucky pays a high price”.

Read the report here

Ofqual Looking for External Experts

Are you looking for a new challenge? 

Ofqual is looking for people to join them as external experts to help their work on qualifications and assessments for GCSEs, A levels, a wide range of vocational and technical qualifications and new apprenticeship end-point assessments.

External experts are invaluable to the work they do to ensure the qualifications they regulate are fit for purpose – making sure they assess the right things, in a consistent way, and can be trusted.

The following is their GOV.UK advert.

Who can be an external expert?

We are looking for people from a wide range of different backgrounds.

You might:

  • be a teacher, practitioner, assessor, examiner or an academic
  • have extensive skills and experience in a particular industry

Please read our Person specification and eligibility criteria – external experts (PDF562KB7 pagesfor full details of the role. Read more

The surprising thing Google Learned About its Employees — & What it Means for Today’s Students
March 15, 2018

The conventional wisdom about 21st century skills holds that students need to master the STEM subjects — science, technology, engineering and math — and learn to code as well because that’s where the jobs are. It turns out that is a gross simplification of what students need to know and be able to do, and some proof for that comes from a surprising source: Google.

This post explains what Google learned about its employees, and what that means for students across the country.  It was written by Cathy N. Davidson, founding director of the Futures Initiative and a professor in the doctoral program in English at the Graduate Center, CUNY, and author of the new book, “The New Education: How to Revolutionize the University to Prepare Students for a World in Flux.” She also serves on the Mozilla Foundation board of directors,  and was appointed by President Barack Obama to the NationalCouncil on the Humanities.

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Executive MBAs – A Worthwhile Investment or Mid-Life Crisis?!
November 20, 2017

The Globe’s business-school news roundup – a case study by Jennifer Lewington

When Tharani Napper enrolled in a 15-month executive MBA, which requires studying for a degree while working, her colleagues and business clients told her she was, in her words, “crazy.”

After all, the 36-year-old married mother of two young daughters is enjoying a successful career as a pharmaceutical industry consultant. But the St. Catharines, Ont., resident decided she wanted to grow professionally without leaving her employer, Pivina Consulting Inc., where she is director of market access.


She says her boss, Pivina managing director Colin Vicente, quizzed her on what she would get out of the program given she has an undergraduate degree in biochemistry and a minor in business from McMaster University in Hamilton.

“I said I want to take my business acumen to a different level and I want to give better consulting services to our clients,” she recalls. “I feel like I have hit the top right now.” 

Read more

Graduated With a 2.2 or Below? Here’s What To Do
August 22, 2017

The follow article may be of help if you are involved in supporting graduates make career / life choices.

From networking to maximising your day job, experts give their advice on finding a job when your degree didn’t meet your expectations

Ripping open up the envelope to see you’ve received a 2.2 or below may not be how you envisaged starting life as a graduate, but don’t be disheartened: a lower degree classification doesn’t mean you’ve hindered your chances of securing your dream career, whatever that might be.

But for those unsure of what next step to take, it’s worth dedicating time to exploring what kind of career you’d like. Think about what interests you and what your passions are. “If you need help, find out if your university careers service can still support you,” says Laura Hooke, a careers consultant working at Loughborough University London. “They may be able to talk to you by phone, Skype or email if you are no longer in the area. See if you can access any useful resources on their website to help you consider the type of work that you want to do.” Visiting the career planner on the Prospects website might also prove fruitful, she says.

Maggie Stilwell, managing partner for talent at Ernst & Young, echoes Hooke’s point about thinking seriously about what kind of the graduate role you’d like. “It’s so important that you think about what you are interested in and what you think you want to do,” she says. “It can be too easy to get a role without valuing yourself and what is going to make you happy and satisfied longer term. When you know that, you can then work out how you get your foot on the ladder – it may not necessarily be something overtly badged as a graduate job or a graduate scheme.”

Read more

A-level Maths is More Useful for Top University Places than Private School
August 14, 2017

Taking maths at A-level is more helpful for landing a place at a Russell Group university than studying at a grammar or private school, research from University College London’s Institute of Education suggests.

A new report on the relationship between a student’s A-level subject choices and the university they attend found that sitting maths was associated with attending a university with a score on average seven points higher in the The Times Good University Guide.

In comparison, attending a grammar or private school instead of a comprehensive was linked to an uptick of around four or five points, according to the research by Catherine Dilnot, senior lecturer at Oxford Brookes University and UCL Institute of Education.

The benefits of having a maths A-level vary depending on the degree course a student chooses to study, but overall, Dilnot said the relationship is “significantly positive”.

There is even a maths premium for degree subjects that are not directly related to maths or which require a different skillset, such as languages and humanities.

While the research shows the significance of choosing maths at A-level, it does not examine how much weight each of the other “facilitating” subjects has.


To Read The Full Report Click Here


CIPD Policy Report – Where next for Apprenticeships?
August 29, 2016

The number of apprenticeships started in England each year has almost tripled over the past decade. The Conservative Government sees apprenticeships as a tool to increase national productivity and improve the wage and employment prospects of individuals. It has launched an ambitious reform agenda to deliver 3 million apprenticeships by 2020 – up from 2.4 million in the last parliament – and at the same time raise the standards of training and assessment.

Recent events – including Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, the Prime Minister’s resignation, a ministerial reshuffle and the moving of post-16 skills policy from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills to the Department for Education – could lead to a shift in the direction of apprenticeship policy. However, the ‘post-16 skills plan’ published in July 2016 reaffirmed the commitment to these reforms and pledged further changes to raise college-based vocational education and better integrate the system as a whole (BIS and DfE 2016). The collection provides timely analysis to inform the direction of the Conservative Party’s manifesto commitments on apprenticeships under Theresa May’s leadership.

Written by a range of key influential individuals within the sector, The CIPD http://www.cipd.co.uk/ have published a report examining

  1. The aims and objectives of apprenticeship
  2. The philosopher’s stone? The case for national apprenticeship qualifications
  3. Employers and meeting the Government’s apprenticeship target: what could possibly go wrong?
  4. Unions and employers in the driving seat
  5. Sector-led approaches to raising apprenticeships: an employer’s perspective
  6. Why colleges and universities should be offering more and better apprenticeships
  7. University-led apprenticeships: a new model for apprentice education
  8. Lessons from abroad: the need for employee involvement, regulation and education for broad occupational profiles

To access the full report Click Here

CDI Careers Framework
August 29, 2016

Across the education and employment sectors there is whole hearted agreement that young people need high quality careers support to help set them on the road to a fulfilling working life. Schools and colleges are at the heart of putting that into place, and rely on other partners, including employers, universities, apprenticeship providers and careers advisers, to contribute practical experiences, information, insight and inspiration.

International evidence highlights that, for all of those efforts to be fully effective, the activities need to be coherent and carefully planned and integrated into a programme of careers, employability and enterprise education, with clear and explicit learning outcomes.

The Career Development Institute, thas developed a framework of learning outcomes to support the shared endeavour of planning, delivering and evaluating high quality careers work. http://www.thecdi.net/

What is the purpose of the framework? It has been developed principally for use in England where there is no longer a national curriculum framework for careers, employability and enterprise education, but it could also be a useful resource in other parts of the UK to supplement their national frameworks.

The framework of learning outcomes has been prepared by the Career Development Institute to support the planning, delivery and evaluation of careers, employability and enterprise education for children and young people. The framework is structured around the three core aims of:

  • Developing yourself through careers, employability and enterprise education
  • Learning about careers and the world of work
  • Developing your career management, employability and enterprise skills

The framework presents learning outcome statements for students across seventeen important areas of careers, employability and enterprise learning. These statements show progression from Key Stage 2 through to post-16 education and training. It also offers examples of suggested activities that will help students to achieve the learning outcomes.

Who is this framework for? This framework is for:

  • career leaders and other curriculum leaders responsible for planning, reviewing and developing programmes of careers, employability and enterprise education
  • teachers and tutors teaching careers, employability and enterprise lessons and providing information, advice and support
  • ubject teachers making links between their schemes of work and careers, employability and enterprise education
  • senior leaders responsible for the overall strategy for careers, employability and enterprise education
  • career advisers, enterprise advisers, employers and other individuals working with schools and colleges to contribute to careers, employability and enterprise education.

To access the framework Click Here