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Education Secretary announces first new T levels

Biggest ever overhaul of technical education to deliver a skills revolution for Brexit Britain.

Education Secretary Justine Greening, has announced the first three T levels in Digital, Construction, and Education and Childcare, which will help deliver a generation of home-grown talent post-Brexit.

The first of the new qualifications, with content developed by leading industry professionals from companies including Rolls Royce, Fuijitsu and EDF, will be taught from 2020, with the full set of T levels introduced by 2022.

First announced in 2016 and backed by £500million every year in additional funding the qualifications are a key milestone in transforming technical education in the UK and extends the offer for young people to study a technical qualification at level 3 – equivalent to A levels.

Education Secretary Justine Greening said: We are transforming technical education in this country, developing our home grown talent so that our young people have the world class skills and knowledge that employers need.

As we prepare to leave the EU, it is more important than ever that we create an outstanding further education and skills system, giving all young people the opportunity to fulfil their potential and deliver a better future for our country.

As part of making sure that the technical education ladder reaches every bit as high as the academic one, I want to see T levels that are as rigorous and respected as A levels.

Each route groups together related occupations which require common knowledge, skills and behaviours. These routes are further broken down into a number of specialisms, clustered together in a straightforward way so that young people can see a clear path to the occupation of their choice.

The content of T levels will be developed by newly appointed panels comprising industry professionals and employers – including EDF, Rolls Royce, Fujitsu, Lloyds, Morgan Sindall, Skanska and Morphy Richards – ensuring that they have real credibility. Panels have been launched across all 6 routes for delivery in 2020 and 2021. All T level programmes will also include a substantial, high quality work placement‎ so that students can apply their learning in a real workplace environment.

More info here

becky harper
student writing

New education and skills measures announced

Education Secretary outlines plans to provide opportunity for all and ensure we have the skills needed for a modern, post-Brexit economy.

Education Secretary Justine Greening has (1 October) announced a series of measures to place education at the heart of the government’s ambition to provide opportunity for all and ensure we are building the skills needed to secure the nation’s prosperity.

The announcements will build on the government’s record of driving up standards in education – with 1.8 million more children in good or outstanding schools than in 2010, more rigorous qualifications and fairer funding for schools, backed by £1.3 billion of additional funding.

The measures announced include:

Help for students
To help more young people access the widest choice of high quality education or training, the government has outlined additional support for university students. The government has announced that it will raise the earning threshold for student loan repayments from £21,000 to £25,000 – which could mean up to an additional £360 a year for thousands of graduates early on in their career. The government is also freezing tuition fees for 2018/19 at their current rate.

Getting great teachers in the schools that need them most
The government wants to ensure every young person can reach their potential – and great teachers are at the heart of this. There are already a record number of teachers in our schools – 15,500 more than in 2010. To support more schools to attract the best staff, the Education Secretary has set out a series of measures, including:

  • Piloting a new student loan reimbursement programme for science and Modern Foreign Language (MFL) teachers in the early years of their career, targeted in the areas of the country that need them most. The pilot scheme will benefit around 800 MFL and 1,700 science teachers a year. A typical teacher in their fifth year of work would benefit by around £540 through reimbursement, and this would be more for teachers with additional responsibilities. This is in addition to the benefit that teachers will get from the newly-announced student loan repayment threshold rise.
  • New style bursaries in maths will also be piloted, with generous upfront payments of £20,000 and early retention payments of £5,000 in the third and fifth year of a teacher’s career. Increased amounts of £7,500 will also be available to encourage the best maths teachers to teach in more challenging schools.
  • £30 million investment in tailored support for schools that struggle the most with recruitment and retention, including investment in professional development training so that these schools can benefit from great teaching.
  • Supporting our best teacher trainer providers, including top Multi Academy Trusts, with Northern Powerhouse funding to expand their reach in to challenging areas in the north that do not currently have enough provision so more areas benefit from excellent teacher training, and help increase the supply of great teachers to the schools that need them the most

Tackling inequality and boosting opportunity across the country
Tackling the attainment gap between disadvantaged pupils and their peers is a crucial part of unlocking the potential of every child and, for many children, we know this gap is already in place before they even start primary school. In particular, research shows that five-year-old children who struggle with language are six times less likely to reach the expected standard in English at age 11 then children who have has good language skills at five, and ten times less likely to achieve the expected level in maths.

To help tackle this, the Education Secretary has set out:

  • A new national network of English hubs will be established across the country with a specific focus on improving early language and literacy – starting with £12m in the north.
  • £6 million further investment to expand Maths Hubs to more challenging areas, spreading excellence in maths teaching.
  • The latest round of the £140 million Strategic School Improvement Fund which will include a new focus on boosting literacy and numeracy skills in Reception year.
  • £5 million investment to trial evidence-based home learning environment (HLE) support programmes in the north of England, which focus on early language and literacy.
  • Plans to transform alternative provision so that no pupils outside of mainstream education are left behind – working with school leaders, parents and local authorities to ensure it is fit for purpose and ensures every child has access to good education, regardless of their background or their ability.

Building the next generation of skills our economy needs to thrive in a modern, post-Brexit economy
We want to deliver the skilled workforce our economy needs to stay competitive. Today’s announcement includes a number of steps to continue to diversify the training and quality of qualifications on offer and ensure we remain at the forefront of higher education:

A boost for degree-apprenticeships – with 27 new projects tasked with promoting and increasing this high-quality route into employment – which allows apprentices to earn while they learn, while gaining a full degree that has been developed in partnership with employers and universities. Projects will be spread across the country and are part of a £10 million fund launched in 2016 that has already supported more than 2,000 people to begin a degree apprenticeship.


becky harper
Woodwork apprenticeship

Why you should apply for Investment in Young People

Being recognised as an Investment in Young People company shows your commitment in supporting the development of a Young Persons ’employability skills’ and their understanding of work and support for their future careers and employment.

The Investment in Young People mark can only be used by companies that have been successful in meeting the required standard.

Gaining the IiYP Award will demonstrate to your customers and the wider community your company’s commitment to investing in and supporting young people into employment.

Find out more.

becky harper
Gardener trainee in nursery shop talking with employee

Benefits of becoming an apprenticeship training provider

Government is very supportive of employers who want to deliver training to apprentices (to your own staff or to other employers’ staff) and understand that the introduction of the apprenticeship reforms will make many employers feel that this is the right approach for them. It enables you to directly design and deliver the content of the off the job training which your own apprentices will receive, giving you the ability to make sure it includes everything you think it should.

Employers who become providers can also help improve the quality of apprenticeships by widening the market and increasing the options for delivering high-quality training that will raise professional standards in your industry. Becoming a provider may mean investment in personnel (for example data administration, quality advisors, trainers, maths & English tutors etc.) and should only be considered if you are confident that you can provide quality training to the standards required of Approved English Apprenticeships.

For more information on the benefits of becoming an apprenticeship training provider please click here


becky harper

Universities must embrace accountability

Minister outlines plans to boost accountability and transparency across high education sector.

In a speech at the Universities UK annual conference (7 September), Universities Minister Jo Johnson told Vice Chancellors and senior university staff that they must embrace accountability and take urgent steps to ensure they are offering a good deal for students and taxpayers.

Jo Johnson unveiled a series of new measures designed to curb spiralling Vice Chancellor pay. He said he will instruct the new Office for Students (OfS) to:

  • insist all universities justify any Vice Chancellor pay over £150,000 as part of their condition of registration. If an institution fails to do so, then the OfS could use its powers to address this, including imposing fines
  • issue new guidance on university senior staff pay, including on the role and independence of pay committees – to help universities understand the new rules
  • require providers to publish details of all senior staff earning over £100,000 per year, to ensure transparency across the sector.

Minister Johnson also renewed his call to Vice Chancellors and their boards to show pay restraint and urged them to develop and introduce their own ‘Remuneration Code’ for senior higher education staff.

He said that a requirement of the ‘code’ should include the publication of a pay ratio of top to median staff pay, and an explanation for any top pay increases that are greater than increases in average pay across the institution.

Setting an example for the sector, the new Chief Executive of the OfS, Nicola Dandridge, and Chair, Sir Michael Barber, have chosen voluntarily to cut their own annual salary by 18 and 10 per cent, respectively, which equates to a combined reduction of more than £40,000.

Universities Minister Jo Johnson said:

The debate over student finance has, rightly, increased public scrutiny of how universities spend the money they receive from fees.

When students and taxpayers invest so heavily in our higher education system, excessive Vice Chancellor salaries send a powerful signal to the outside world.

Greater restraint is required and, by independently volunteering big pay cuts themselves, Sir Michael Barber and Nicola Dandridge have shown true leadership.

Exceptional pay can only be justified by exceptional performance, which is why I will ask the new Office for Students to take action to ensure value for money and transparency for students and the taxpayer.

The minister also vowed to tackle degree grade inflation following growing concerns about the number of student being awarded top degrees. Almost three-quarters of students now secure a first or upper second, compared to just 66 per cent in 2011/12 and under half in the mid-1990s.

Jo Johnson added:

Unchecked, grade inflation risks damaging the reputation of the entire UK Higher Education sector, creating a dangerous impression of slipping standards, and undermining the efforts of those who work hard for their qualifications and poorly serving the needs of employers.

I am disappointed that the sector have made so little progress in tackling this problem. As a first step I will ask the Office for Students to publish data annually and challenge where there is evidence that grades are being inflated, and I will introduce a new measure through the Teaching Excellence Framework to discourage and contain the issue.

I am today also calling on you to take swift action to define and agree sector recognised standards for all classifications of degrees – my challenge to the sector is to start that work now, and to reach sector wide agreement over the next 12 months’.

The OfS is a new public body, established by the Higher Education and Research Act 2017. Once fully operational in April 2018 the OfS – which will replace the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) and the Office for Fair Access (OFFA) – will regulate the higher education sector and place students’ interests at its heart.

The Department for Education will launch a public consultation in the autumn seeking views on the OfS regulatory framework, including the new measures outlined in the minister’s speech.

Source: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/universities-must-embrace-accountability

becky harper
Group Of High School Students Giving Piggybacks In Corridor

Teenagers looking beyond exams to boost their CV

For teenagers across the north east its been an important few weeks as they’ve collected their GCSE and A-Level results. Academic achievement is seen as mandatory for many career paths with certain grades needed for apprenticeships, university and employment.

Increasingly, business leaders along with universities say that volunteering and citizenship schemes are CV must haves.

Some schemes require year long commitments with long volunteering stretches, something businessman John Elliott says immediately shows employers’ just as much as academic results.

“What you do now counts more than what has happened already. Employers look for things other than academic achievement.” – JOHN ELLIOTT, CHAIRMAN EBAC


National Citizen Service (NCS) is an experience you really don’t want to miss. If you’re 15 to 17 years-old, this is your chance to embark on exhilarating challenges, make your mark and build skills for work and life. More than 275,000 young people have already said YES to NCS.  http://www.ncsyes.co.uk

The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award has helped countless young people on their sometimes difficult path to adulthood. For the past seven decades the Charity has inspired and transformed the lives of millions of young people from all walks of life. From volunteering to physical activities, life skills to expeditions, achieving a DofE Award is a passport to a brighter future, valued by employers and universities.

becky harper

Fewer pupils expecting to go to university

The number of secondary school pupils in England and Wales expecting to go on to university has fallen for the second year in a row, a survey has found.

While a high proportion of 11 to 16-year-olds (74%) do plan to study for a degree, this figure is the lowest since 2009, the Sutton Trust survey suggests.

It is down from 77% last year and 79% in 2015, from a high of 81% in 2013.

The government said the reality was that entry rates for 18-year-olds had been rising every year since 2012.

Figures from the university admissions service, Ucas show that 32.5% of 18-year-olds in England and 29.5% in Wales went into higher education last year – the highest recorded entry rate for both countries.

More information here

becky harper

Result grade boundaries’ publication delayed

Concerns about the anxiety expressed by students online after the publication last year prompt action from exam boards.

Exam boards will no longer release grade boundaries online the day before candidates receive their GCSEand A-level resultsbecause of concerns about pupil welfare.

In previous years, grade boundaries have been published 24 hours before results day to help school exam officers prepare before grades are given out.

But exam boards say this led to pupils flocking to social media and making misleading comments as they tried to predict their own grades.

Last year, pupils panicked that grade boundaries were too high – despite not being able to tell how many marks they had got on a paper from the release.

Exam boards were concerned about the anxiety being expressed by pupils on social media, so from this summer grade boundaries will be posted online on the day that pupils receive their results.

More here https://www.tes.com/news/school-news/breaking-news/gcse-and-a-level-grade-boundaries-publication-delayed-prevent-pupil

becky harper
dfe story

Schools save on electronic devices

DfE and Crown Commercial Service (CCS) will launch the second in a series of bulk buying deals (sometimes referred to as ‘aggregated deals’) for schools considering buying new tablets, laptops or desktop devices at the beginning of the autumn term.

One hundred schools took up the previous deal, buying over 2,000 devices. Some schools saved thousands of pounds, with average savings of 8%.

CCS will publish full details of the deal on 4 September 2017. Schools will then have until 29 September 2017 to send CCS their equipment requirements.

CCS will work with suppliers to get the best prices and notify schools after they award the contract on 6 November 2017. Schools will then be able to place their orders for delivery and arrange payment at the agreed price.

We currently plan that the tablet devices will be branded products – for example, Apple iPad. Whereas laptop, desktop and Chromebook devices will not have a brand specified to increase competition and get the best prices.

We have scheduled further buying opportunities for spring 2018 and will announce dates later.

Read more about ordering hardware for schools and see a webinar explaining the process in more detail.



becky harper
EBA 2017 logo border

Enterprising Britain Awards 2017 Shortlist

The initial shortlisting for this year’s competition has now taken place and the list of the 14 shortlisted entries is shown below.

  • Aldershot Community Enterprise Centre  – WSX Enterprise
  • Basildon Council International Business Support Programme
  • Bradford City Centre Growth Scheme
  • Business Durham
  • Business West
  • Design Ventura
  • Enterprising Hull
  • Hatch Enterprise Incubator
  • Learn Grow Excel
  • London South Bank University
  • North Tyneside Council
  • North Worcestershire Economic Development & Regeneration
  • Steps to Enterprise, Future Works, Pembrokeshire County Council
  • World Class Worcestershire – a Place to Do Business!

Notification of the winners will be made later in the year.

Thank you to all those organisations that have taken the time to enter this year’s competition.

As in past years the competition attracted entries of a very high calibre and this is reflected in the slight increase of two additional entries to our planned number of shortlisted entries.

Details on Enterprising Britain Awards 2018 will be announced later in the year www.enterprisingbritainawards.co.uk.

becky harper