Give me something to Blog about

grant me the serenity to accept the things i cannot change
courage to change the things I can
wisdom to know the difference

It has been been just over a year since my last blog and somehow the blogsphere and the twitterverse did not collapse in on itself.

Its the summer break, a time to once again regrouop, reflect and maybe, even, reblog.

My last blog, which not ironically starts with the sentence ” when I decided to restart the blog” shows I have form, an unsuccessful history in trying to maintain a regular blog.

Looking at the ‘must read’ section of the TES F.E pages  shows that things don’t seem to have moved on an awful lot. So I can do a continuation of that blog. Arguing from a certain perspective, being student rather than employer focused.

so One Year Later.

(As of 21st July, the top 10 most read stories. pop pickers)

10; Ofsted: Wilshaw slams ‘alarming rate of underperformance and failure’ in colleges
9; Gordon Marsden: funding cuts have reduced colleges’ capacity to deliver HE
8; Employer contact ‘most useful’ form of careers advice, say nine in 10 students
7; Amanda Spielman confirmed as new Ofsted chief inspector despite MPs’ concerns
6; A third of businesses plan to cut non-apprenticeship training because of levy, poll suggests
5; Robert Halfon named as new apprentices and skills minister
4; Successive governments’ policies have ‘failed’ FE, claims former skills minister
3; Qualifications cull could kill off awarding bodies
2; Sainsbury review: what changes are on the way for post-16 education?
1; Ofstedwatch: the latest Ofsted reports for FE and skills

The focus, if you can call it, of the last blog is about the lack of focus on pre-level 3 courses. So let’s have a look through these 10 stories and see if, one year later, pre-level 3 student focus has improved at all…

10; Ofsted: Wilshaw slams ‘alarming rate of underperformance and failure’ in colleges
“an alarming rate of underperformance and failure, especially when we remember that the majority of 16- to 19-year-olds are educated in the FE sector. Right across the country, we find colleges that simply aren’t delivering what’s needed. In too many cases, inspectors are coming across weak provision, characterised by poor outcomes for learners and apprentices, high drop-out rates and sub-standard work experience placements that fail to develop students’ industry-specific skills.”
“…packing their curriculum with low-quality courses that fail to match the skills gaps in the local and national labour market,”

So it’s Wilshaw’s view of F.E, and his ability to improve morale in the sector hasn’t changed. “Colleges simply aren’t delivering what’s needed” and the only thing that’s needed is preparing for jobs that existed yesterday and completing maths and English education not achieved in schools. apparently.

9; Gordon Marsden: funding cuts have reduced colleges’ capacity to deliver HE
‘The shadow minister says cuts to Esol and adult skills have adversely affected FE provision. 
The government has “reduced the capacity” of FE colleges to participate…’

Excellent point, well said that Shadow Minister man. this covers the issue’s I want to look at.

‘… in higher education.

Balls. Of course. it’s all about delivering H.E in F.E. Post level 3 courses. Sigh. Next.

8; Employer contact ‘most useful’ form of careers advice, say nine in 10 students
‘A survey of almost 2,000 students concludes that information from employers and work experience were the ‘most useful’ sources of careers advice’

Well I’m glad the survey was done to tell me that. (he said snarkily) out of interest what were the least useful? Non-employers and time-off presumeably.

7; Amanda Spielman confirmed as new Ofsted chief inspector despite MPs’ concerns
‘Amanda Spielman has been approved by the Privy Council to become Ofsted’s next chief inspector’

congratulations, best of luck to her.

‘– despite MPs raising concerns about her lack of awareness of the FE sector.”

Of course she has a lack of awareness about FE. why wouldn’t she.

6; A third of businesses plan to cut non-apprenticeship training because of levy, poll suggests
“Getting the skills and education system right across the country, particularly in partnership with the devolved nations, will be a big challenge ahead for the new secretary of state.”

And at this point, I remain positive and open minded, that the new Education Secretary will have a focus on Learner centered and pre-level 3 education in F.E. Next!

5; Robert Halfon named as new apprentices and skills minister
‘Mr Halfon…   In 2010 he became the first politician to hire an apprentice, and he helped to create the Parliamentary Academy…
asks MPs to pay their apprentices the national minimum wage’

Which, it would be churlish not to admit, is a great thing. *Mini clap*

‘In 2011, Mr Halfon voted in favour of scrapping the education maintenance allowance. He also voted in favour of raising university tuition fees.’

Of course he did. NEXT!

4; Successive governments’ policies have ‘failed’ FE, claims former skills minister
‘John Denham calls for the creation of an ‘academic and policy council’ to inform FE and skills policy’

Interesting, tell me more.

‘successive governments have “not delivered a consistent approach to policy or implementation” to get employer-supported higher-level qualifications to become a major part of the skills system.’

(breathes) not learner supported, either, to be fair.

3; Qualifications cull could kill off awarding bodies
‘Switching to single versions may put small, specialist organisations out of business ‘
“The resources you have to put into bidding for, let alone winning, a government contract are just phenomenal.”
‘Federation of Awarding Bodies’ 130 members would be affected by the changes, according to chief executive Stephen Wright.’
“If you boil down vocational and technical education into 15 areas, they’re going to be so enormously broad that they’ll have the same problem that we’ve had with the 14-19 diploma: the standards are such a compromise that employers don’t really value them.”

But do LEARNERS value them?!?

2; Sainsbury review: what changes are on the way for post-16 education?

This actually really newads to be looked at in it’s own right.
I might actually do that…

1; Ofstedwatch: the latest Ofsted reports for FE and skills

Is a sobering read.

Be Seeing You. May be.

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