Maureen’s Blog – June 2013 Edition.

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We are moving to the time when providers start to evaluate how things have gone this year and start to prepare for next year. And so at Nelson Thornes we are taking stock of what we have got on offer and looked to see how we can continue improve our service.

We have started with our Factsheets, Viewpoints and Info Sheets. They are all being updated to reflect current policy and will be available over the next few weeks. This review of policy particularly applies to funding where there have been significant changes announced in the past few weeks. We have now had confirmation that the funding for apprentices will reflect that available for adults. The latest SFA document states that apprentices that start their programmes from August will be funded at £724.00 per subject. This great news will ensure that there are sufficient funds for organisations to provide quality support for their apprentices. The increase in the amount of training that is being undertaken is evidence that providers are now realising that they can afford to up-skill their staff to deliver the qualifications.

We also know which teaching qualifications are going to be available for the sector from September 2013. PTTLS and DTLLS and subject specialism qualifications are out and new more focused qualifications to reflect the role you are undertaking in the sector are in. The major AOs are developing these new qualifications and they assure me that they will be ready for delivery by the beginning of the new academic year. With LSIS going at the end of the month, the new Guild will be responsible for decisions about the new qualifications, how they will be supported and funded. As we know Lingfield was insistent that employers should take responsibly for the training of their staff and ensure that they are fully qualified without the need for the government to impose mandatory requirements. We will see how this pans out as the now called ‘Education and Training Foundation’ starts to take shape. If you want to hear more about these developments join Nelson Thornes at the ‘All Things Functional Curriculum Conference’ on the 14th June in Birmingham where David Hughes who is chair of the Education and Training Foundation steering group will be the keynote speaker.

We have anticipated that as part of your review of your functional skills programme you will be considering the awarding organisation you currently work with. It’s now three years since the first awarding organisations were accredited to offer functional skills and there is a good choice of providers. Many people don’t realise that although the qualifications use the same criteria approachs to assessment can be very different. And so when I am training, I often hear things like “I would like to use naturally occurring workplace evidence for SLC as I did with key skills, but in functional skills you can’t do that”. Actually with some AOs you can. And others you cant! The same applies to the timing of assessments. They are not all the same length, and sometimes the timing for paper and onscreen is different depending on the AO and the mode of delivery.

To help you with some of the key features of the main AOs so that you can make some realistic comparisons we’ve got a new Viewpoint for you.

We will be back with another blog before we break for the summer so look out for the next edition of All Things Functional.

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