Time to grasp the nettle

Thursday, 25 June 2015 08:31
In the days of the Learning and Skills Council we viewed the changes introduced at that time as quite draconian and wondered how we would cope.

Oh, to go back to those days, when the skills agenda was a high priority of Government and the focus was on delivering high-quality training with reward for growth and a feeling that this was a unified agenda!
When I look back, yes, there were issues that needed to be tackled, but the Skills Funding Agency and Education Funding Agency brought about the rigour which was required alongside the Ofsted regime.
It wasn’t easy, but nevertheless it was a structured approach, albeit with some reward.
By contrast, today’s situation is far from clear, with an alarming lack of evidence for protection of funding post-16.
There is a limit, however, to what can be legitimately achieved. We face an agenda that now calls the whole skills agenda into question.
The landscape at the moment is still unclear and shrouded in mystery. I wonder who intends to clarify the position and when?
The actual expertise is within our sector, but we do need to showcase our work with apprenticeships, maths and English, HE and FE and so on.
The horizon may well change, but the different regions of the country need to start shouting about what they do, what they contribute to the economy and why the solution should be regionally based.
This is not, by the way, about devolution. On the contrary, it is about making impact and showing how all institutions could provide a combined solution for the future.
We must not have a one-size-fits-all solution – that would be disastrous and actually would work against the ethos of the new Ofsted Inspection Framework.
In many ways we need to look at a ‘community consortia’ model for regions. My own College is in the South West and I believe quite strongly that the governance, management and quality measures already exist across the region with, perhaps, more examination in some cases of ‘hub and spokes’ approaches for the future.
I hope that the Ministers concerned will start to move towards such a model, and that the relevant Schools’ Commissioners et al will provide the elasticity of support to make this work.
Let us be in no doubt, the solution is regional and may be quite painful at times but it has the potential and economies of scale to work.
Education in our localities is ready for a joint agenda. We must also be cognisant that there is evidence across the further education sector of brilliant FE institutions, but there is also evidence of poorly governed and led colleges which skew and paint a picture of great variation.
My own college in Weston-super-Mare is part of the South West grouping of colleges very ably supported by the AoC Regional Manager and his Chair. It is time to grab the nettle, but regional solutions from the college sector itself are the only way forward.
Paul Phillips is principal and chief executive of Weston College, Weston-super-Mare

Apprenticeships: it’s quality, not numbers that matter

Apprenticeships have been thrust centre stage by the new government. In May, it was revealed in the Queen’s speech that – much like the title “university” – the word apprenticeship will become a protected term. The aim is to prevent low-quality schemes being described as apprenticeships when they are really just short-term training rebadged.
Many people still struggle to understand the difference between training and education
The government is right to recognise the importance of the apprenticeship route – in the future it will provide a vital role for the development of individuals and for contributing to economic growth. But limited funding and a focus on getting 3,000,000 apprentices through the door has the potential to undermine ministers’ ambitions.
With a minimum wage of £3.30 an hour from this October (representing a 57p increase) and up to two thirds of the cost met by government, some employers have seen apprenticeships as an opportunity to secure subsidised labour on a revolving door basis. Employees can be trained to do a job but not to build a career, to be expendable and easily replaced. A focus on numbers starting the programme, rather than those with careers at the end has the potential to further fuel poor reputation and association of apprentices with less able candidates.
Part of the problem is that many people still struggle to understand the difference between training and education. If we want to rebuild the apprenticeship brand, we have to recognise that there is a distinction – and that the best apprenticeship programmes do both.
If we train simply for specific jobs that exist in the present, we will always have a workforce failing to meet its future potential in terms of productivity, earnings and social mobility. Apprentices also need to receive a properly accredited and quality assured educational component, such a pathway to a Higher National Certificate (HNC), Higher National Diploma (HND) or foundation degree. Universities, in collaboration with employers, can help create this. They have been helping fulfil this role for centuries; consider the way universities currently work with the NHS to provide doctors and health professionals in an incredibly fast moving field.
There are already some superb examples of best practice that should be the template for what apprenticeships should look like – Rolls Royce has run a scheme for more than 100 years that opens the door to more advanced qualifications like a HNC, HND or foundation degrees. In the UK many students are already sponsored by employers to attend courses. Costs are shared between the student and employer, which also reduces the burden on tax payers.
The move to define apprenticeships is vital and it is clear it requires input from employers and those universities experienced in developing highly applied tailored courses. But we need to take the long view and set the standard high even if that means falling short of arbitrary input targets.
If we can achieve this, then as in other countries, the salaries and careers associated with these qualifications will help change public perception regarding the value of professional and technical education. If we fail, then the whole apprenticeship opportunity will be lost once more.
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The Aftermath of Not Achieving Outstanding

I’m an avid fan of the Chelsea Flower Show. In recent years ‘Chelsea’ has been subject to some controversy with critics questioning the revised scoring system, what represents Gold and how seemingly Gold exhibitions achieve the less coveted Silver Gilt? Sound familiar?
Since changing the goal posts in 2012 the Ofsted inspection process has also been subject to controversy and for over 30% of colleges a shift in ratings that has plummeted them in to the requiring improvement category.
So what are the parallels between the Ofsted process and that annually, globally recognised institution, the Chelsea Flower Show?
Pressure to achieve Gold at Chelsea, an outstanding rating from Ofsted, they both add up to success. Success or failure in business can be a self-fulfilling prophecy. The aftermath has to be managed whichever side of the fence you came down on. Here, two winning principals have their say.
Dr Paul Phillips, Principal and Chief Executive of Weston College who were rated as Outstanding by Ofsted in 2013, said “An Outstanding college is not created overnight. It is a major journey that involves significant team of people, not only restricted to managers and governors, but also including the whole college, partnerships and communities. In my view, we cannot have an outstanding college without a leadership theory based on putting the learner first, and zero tolerance of under-performance. I was told by one of the inspectors that if what we do here could be bottled up and sold, every college in the UK would get an outstanding rating”. (source: Weston College website)
Chichester College Principal Shelagh Legrave said “I am so proud as Principal of Chichester College to have recieved such a truly outstanding Ofsted report. In 2014, thirteen Ofsted Inspectors rated the College as Outstanding in all four key grades. It is a true testament to the fantastic staff of the College and a ringing endorsement of their commitment to provide exceptional support to our students. The lead Ofsted Inspector commented on the drive of staff to ensure students achieved their potential was so engrained in our culture, it could almost be touched. Inspectors spoke to many students, employers, staff and other stakeholders during their visit and we would like to thank them for the huge amount of positive feedback they gave during the inspection.” (source: Chichester College website – News April 2014)
The article is not designed to get you competition fit; it is a 7-step guide for college managers to help you deal with the immediate aftermath of an Ofsted inspection that leaves you requiring improvement.
1. COMMUNICATE – immediately following the feedback from the lead inspector, acknowledge the effort staff have made. The rating may be disappointing but many staff will be feeling inadequate, exhausted and demoralised. A calm, constructive message demonstrating leadership will go a long way to ensuring this emotion is temporarily felt, staff are kept on board and the direction of travel does not lose momentum. A similar message will need to be sent to students, employers and the wider community.
2. REFLECT – the quality nominee, principal, chair of corporation and other senior staff should convene, ideally on the day of the feedback, to share the emotion. You will be exhausted, disappointed, frustrated maybe even angry. This negative emotion is powerful, if left unsaid it can manifest as sabotage, blame, collusion, narcissim or at its worst, corruption. The whole college and its community need a cohesive, strong leadership approach now more than ever, so take time to vent the emotion – then park it and re-set the Sat Nav.
3. TAKE ACTION – This is where an interim manager can become invaluable. On the first full working day following the inspection instruct all Heads of Department to gather even the most seemingly insignificant scraps of evidence from the process. This information, along with all the formal feedback and evaluations carried out during the inspection need collating as soon as possible. They are quite literally missing clues.
4. ANALYSE – create an ‘incident room’ its time to become a detective. The victim is the college. The suspects; the accuracy of the SAR, data, lesson observation profile; feedback from the conversations the varying college groups (students, staff, employers etc.) have had with the inspectors, the report, etc. Literally collate everything that may give a clue to why you were found to be requiring improvement.
5. INVOLVE – Roles, Responsibilities, Authorities, Accountabilities for managers should have been clear prior to the inspection. In curriculum groups bring together teams of staff and their managers. Use the ‘incident room’ approach to scrutinize where they went wrong (or indeed to celebrate what they got right and how to identify how they will continue to improve). Staff teams need to OWN their mistakes. If performance management processes need to be implemented, make it transparent.
6. EXECUTE – not literally, though most inspections achieving requiring improvement will have casualties. With the detective work over and all staff bought in to the need to improve, publish the plan. It is not a document; it is a daily, weekly, monthly reporting mechanism. It is a tool to monitor progress. It is a tool to keep time management on course. It is a tool to communicate milestones reached, to reward or to take performance actions.
7. COMMUNICATE – every time a milestone is reached make sure everyone knows – staff, students, employers, the community. Celebrate the achievement e.g. through a weekly bulletin announced via the website, email, electronic notice boards, meetings, forums etc.
“Ofsted observed less than 70% attendance at Maths L1 groups. Our zero tolerance approacvh to non-attendance is working. This week over 90% of all enrolments on Maths L1 courses were in their class. Well done all”.
Go on, re-design, plant, water, weed, feed and you’ll nurture the growth that makes the garden rosy again and helps win that Gold.

Softening the blow of funding cuts with data

Friday, 26 June 2015 12:06 The FE Commissioner recently sent a letter addressed to All Chairs and Principals/CEOs of Corporations and FE Institutions, advising them on steps they should consider in order to save costs through “rationalisation” and “collaboration”.

The first part of the letter addresses rationalisation and begins by saying that an “increasing numbers of colleges are having to take some difficult decisions as to what they can afford to provide and how best they can provide it”. It then goes on to list some of the ways that this can be done, such as reducing internal inefficiencies, increasing class sizes, decreasing the percentage of income spent on staffing, and reviewing curriculum delivery models to include cost-efficient teaching such as online learning.
Having briefly addressed these issues, the letter moves on to say that once these initiatives have been exhausted, if finance is still a big problem it may be time to consider collaborating or even merging with other institutions. This is of course already going on, but the tone of the letter suggests that an increasing number of colleges are going to have to consider going down this route as funding becomes even tighter.
The remainder of the letter is dedicated to setting out some basic principles that should be borne in mind by colleges considering collaboration or merger. There are many points of interest for senior management teams, which you can read about here, but I want to pick up on one particular area that is touched upon.
According to the letter:
Agreeing the core purpose of the collaboration from the outset drives the type of structures which providers may wish to consider. These might be one or more of cost reduction, improving quality, investing in new sub-sectors relating to LEP or other employer priorities, growth into 14-16, HE or International markets, or protecting local provision.
What this statement is getting at is that any colleges thinking of collaborating or even merging should take steps to ensure that they do not cut services and courses that might harm learners and employers. Cutting costs is clearly one of the primary aims of merging, but it must be done with great caution, taking care to protect things like “employer priorities” and “local provision”.
There is also a section later on in the letter which says that decisions such as this should be taken on the basis of proper evidence, rather than according to subjective whims:
Governors have a critical role to play in key decisions about structure and in the interests of their college and more importantly its learners and employers. Fundamentally they must be as objective as possible. Objectivity means cutting through any vested interests, ensuring that ultimately decisions are made on data and other firm evidence, and not basing too much reliance on memories of past success.
Put these two things together and what do we have? Really a call for colleges that do decide to collaborate or merge to ensure that any decisions they make are made using objective data, in order to ensure that what they do isn’t detrimental to learners and employers.
This is where I think good local data can really help. In particular, one of the ways that data can really be effective in this area is in mapping courses to local employment trends to establish areas of over or under-supply. Colleges who are planning to collaborate or to merge together could take a joint approach, mapping their combined provision against the needs of the local labour market, and so be well placed to see which areas of their curricula, if any, can be cut without causing real harm to the aspirations of learners and the needs of employers.
I appreciate that none of this is exactly going to thrill anyone in the sector. Cuts rarely excite. Yet there is a need to be realistic, and the reality, as the letter says, is that “there is clearly not enough money for the sector to continue as it is and rationalisation and collaboration is the new order of the day.”
There is therefore very much a need to be pragmatic and to take the kinds of steps that will bring about the “least worst scenario” available to us at this time. If this means colleges having to collaborate or even merge, with certain courses being axed, objective Labour Market Data which maps courses to the needs of the local economy really ought to play a fundamental role in informing where the axe should fall.
Anthony Horne is the head of Further Education for Economic Modelling Specialists International

Boles: government faces ‘difficult choices’ over future of colleges


Skills minister Nick Boles has questioned whether the general further education college model has a future, amid warnings that “difficult choices” will have to be made about the “less productive bits” of the FE system.
In his first public address since the election, the minister told delegates at the Association of Employment and Learning Providers (AELP) annual conference in London that further savings would have to be made in post-16 education.
He pointed out that the post-16 budget was not protected and said it “does not take a genius” to realise that more investment was needed for the government to realise its target of creating 3 million new apprenticeships by 2020.
“There will be some difficult choices to take about the less productive bits of our further education system, about those programmes where maybe we can expect more from the individuals taking the programme in terms of their ability to contribute to the funding of them,” he said.
“We also need to look at the range of qualifications offered to young people; are they properly defined? We need to look at the range of institutions that exist within further, technical and professional education and ask ourselves whether the general further education college that we have had for so long, many of which do a very fine job in many areas, whether that general model is one that we want for the future when resources are constrained.”
Mr Boles said he did not have the answers, but that these were questions being asked “extensively” in government. The minister was booed by some delegates when he refused to answer questions, claiming he could not do so before the upcoming Budget.
Speaking to TES after the minister’s speech, AELP chief executive Stewart Segal said that all training providers were feeling pressure on their budgets, not just colleges.
“Looking at the sector by different types of provider is outdated,” he said. “Partnership is the way forward. We need to make sure the system allows better access to funding for all providers.
Mr Boles also told the conference that the government planned to expand the traineeships programme, and invited the sector to “think creatively” about its content.
The minister’s address followed the publication of a Department for Business, Innovation and Skills research paper into the value of FE.
It shows that apprenticeships deliver the highest value of all publicly funded FE qualifications, with every pound invested in a level 2 apprenticeship returning £26, and every level 3 apprenticeship returning £28. However, even qualifications below level 2 show value for money, returning £10 for every public pound invested.
The paper estimates the benefits to the economy over the working lifetime of all the learners starting publicly funded FE qualifications in 2013-14 at £70 billion. The average return for each qualification started is £34,000.

20 Motivational Quotes For Entrepreneurs From Pinterest


Being an entrepreneur is really tough. You have to stay alive in the midst of fierce competition. Along the way to success, you need to fight negative thoughts that can easily weigh you down.
This is the main reason that you must have the proper motivation and know how to sustain that motivation.
Sometimes, we dive into a new endeavor energized, full of zest, enthusiasm, and positive thinking.
But once we’re faced with insurmountable challenges and defeat is staring us right to our eyes, then motivation is all we need.
There are many places that you can go to when it comes to gaining or renewing your motivation but I would like to present to you motivational quotes written especially for entrepreneurs from Pinterest.
You might be surprise but Pinterest is really rich and packed with motivation quotes for entrepreneurs.
Check out these 20 best motivational quotes from Pinterest that will surely give you inspiration while being an entrepreneur.
The ones who say “you can’t” and “you won’t” are probably the ones scared that “you will”.
Most of the time, people who are throwing negative things on you are those people who compete against you. So rise above the competition to prove them wrong.
Make the jump and leap of faith from what we are to what we want to be.
Entrepreneurship involves risks and danger of failing. If you stay scared and afraid to take risks, you will stay where you are and never to what you should have become.
Courage does not always roar. Sometimes it’s the quiet voice at the end of the day saying. I will try again tomorrow.
Mistakes are inevitable when it comes to business. No matter how you calculate and weigh things, there wiill always be something unexpected that will catch you off-guard. As sure as mistakes are, you can also be assured that there will always be tomorrow to correct your mistakes and do better.
You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great.
Everything starts small and true success doesn’t happen overnight. Do not wait to be big before you try anything but you must start small and be big in the future.
Don’t wish it was easier; wish you were better. Don’t wish for less problems; wish for more skills. Don’t wish for less challenges, wish for more wisdom.
Problems in life are given and it is normal. Therefore, the earlier you accept that, the earlier you are able to perform things that will catapult you to success. Strive to be better rather than wishing that you have a better situation.
Worrying is like a rocking chair. It gives you something to do but doesn’t get you anywhere.
Worrying does not make you anything more but only less. Focusing your strengths on your worries will only waste your time and make you unproductive. In fact, 90 percent of things we worry never happen, so why worry?
The best way to predict the future is to create it.
We might not see what the future holds for us but we can create our future and dictate what we can become.
When you want to succeed as bad as you want to breathe then you will be successful.
Breathing is essential to life and the moment you equate your need to breathe and your need to succeed; then you can develop a very strong motivation – strong enough to bring you in greater heights.
If you don’t build your dream someone will hire you to build theirs…
People who have greater motivation in making their dreams come true will eventually overtake you and make you their slaves. Entrepreneurship is about being your own boss and this is only done through unwavering determination.
Entrepreneurship is living a few years of your life like most people won’t, so that you can spend the rest of your life like most people can’t.
Delayed gratification should be every entrepreneur’s best friend. This principle will allow you to work harder today and sow the positive fruits of your labor in the future.
Wake up with determination. Go to bed with satisfaction.
Start your day right as an entrepreneur. Wake early so that you can accomplish more and when you go to sleep, you can sleep with satisfaction.
The difference between who you are and who you want to be is what you do.
Action should follow your plan. If you want to be something, you must do something rather than burning your time in wishful thinking and envying other people.
I choose… to live by choice, not by chance; to be motivated, not manipulated; to be useful, not used; to make changes, not excuses; to excel, not compete; I choose self-esteem, not self pity; I choose to listen to my inner voice, not to the random opinion of others.
There are always choices that you will face in everyday life. The choice you make will also make you. Be always positive in your thinking and actively look for ways to improve yourself.
If you cannot do great things, do small things in a great way.
In most cases, the great things that we do really do not define us but those small things that we regularly do. If you will do everything with great motivation and enthusiasm – even the smallest things – then those small things will ultimately become big when the right time comes.
A goal is a dream with a deadline.
Once you set a goal, it should not stay on your paper but it should behoove you to action. Keep a list of what you should do for today, tomorrow, next week, and next month to become a successful entrepreneur.
As entrepreneurs, we must continue to ask ourselves ‘what’s next?’ It takes humility to realize that we don’t know everything, not to rest on our laurels and know that we must keep learning and observing.
No matter what success you might have accomplished, it is important you remain humble and always open for suggestions.
Timing, perseverance, and ten years of trying will eventually make you look like an overnight success.
When you look at successful people, you only see their accomplishments but with every accomplishment are the hardships and challenges they overcame.
Whether you think you can or you can’t, you’re right.
There are really no right choices but some choices are just way better than others.
Some people dream of great accomplishments, while others stay awake and do them.
It’s not wrong to dream but it is only when you stay asleep dreaming and never waking up that makes it a foolish.
Choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life.
Love your job and you will surely have a better chance to be motivated and stay motivated. Working is an integral part of your life and it will be great if you make that work a pleasant part of your life.
These are just some of the great motivational quotes found in Pinterest. Words can be very powerful and this is very true when it comes to quotes. So make it a habit to read motivational quotes from Pinterest and you will become a better entrepreneur!

5 strategies that will make you a more authentic leader

Champo Says:  excellent article. I would like to think that during my time as a leader I have tried to employ some of the principles to ensure that people have a clear understanding of what we are trying to achieve and where we are trying to end up. 

I started a new CEO job this week and it’s even more clear that during the first week as a leader in a new business you have to try and work with the key people to develop a strong bond based on the principles in this article.  Hopefully I’ve started to do that.

I guess only time will tell? 


Here are five ways you can start to step into your natural power right now.
1. Embrace leadership.
People want to follow. When you walk into a meeting, as a leader, people are waiting to hear your vision. It’s your job to lay down what’s going to happen. Too many entrepreneurs, especially those who founded and bootstrapped their own companies, don’t embrace the leadership role.
Some leaders want their management team to come up with the strategy, reasoning that their managers will be the ones to implement it. But that perspective simply doesn’t work: Managers aren’t strategic. And you as leader end up just trying to make everyone happy without accomplishing your main strategic goal.
Have you ever been in a locker room when a coach is talking to his players? Was there any question as to who the leader was in that situation?
Have courage. Leadership means having a vision, then getting everyone on board with it.
2. Be a servant to the vision.
Your first and foremost loyalty is to the company. Not the investors, the customers or the employees. It’s to the company and your vision. So everything you do should be toward moving the company in that direction. Become obsessed with it. Remove anything standing in the way.
Do you have an employee who’s been with you for a long time, though your company’s been growing and the employee no longer fits into the larger organization? Time to let that person go. Keeping employees like this around is one of the biggest mistakes growing entrepreneurs make. You’re doing everyone a disservice by keeping them around — including the employees themselves.
Related: The Business Impact of Authentic Leadership
Consider the leaders who create excellent offerings. Do you think that Steve Jobs ever allowed people to stay on his team if they weren’t pulling their weight? Are you letting people slide? You are are losing integrity by keeping them around.
Instead, give them the freedom to find a company where they can again add massive value. It’s your job to bring in the best and make sure only the best stay on the team.
3. Be vulnerable — but in a healthy way.
There was a time I worked with a CEO whose company had had ten straight years of growth, before his industry went into a tailspin. He was worried. He faced a companywide meeting where he would have to share the news that, for the first time, his enterprise was going to lose money.
I asked if anyone else knew the company wasn’t doing well, and he said of course, all of his competitors were doing poorly.
I then worked with him to face things head-on. He shared the situation with the rest of the company but, instead of caving, used the bad news as a rallying cry to cut costs and make the company more efficient while earning a lot of trust from his people.
Your alternative, trying to “BS” people, simply doesn’t work, no matter how good you think you are at it. Intuition is a real thing, and when you don’t show up as authentic, people realize it in their gut and start to distrust you. When, instead, you can be both vulnerable and strong at the same time, you become a leader that people want to follow.
4. Employ “neutral honesty.”
When you have a difficult situation to overcome, you will be surprised how well the truth works. You do have to understand the healthy way to utilize it.
Say you have a salesperson that isn’t working out. Instead of trying to find a new one behind that person’s back, then giving him or her the sudden axe, try this:
Have a sit-down. Tell this person that it’s not working out. Give six weeks’ notice. The person can look for another job, while agreeing not to take along any company information, and to do a good job turning over accounts to the sales manager or the next in line (which can all be put into writing).
This lets the departing employee leave on a good note, saves you from making an enemy and gives you time to find a replacement with the least amount of stress possible.
I call this type of action “neutral honest” because you aren’t blaming anyone. You’re just focusing on the facts. And no one can argue with facts. So, take the personal emotions out of things; creative solutions will appear.
5. Take complete ownership.
I’m going to let you in on a secret: You’re responsible for everything that happens.
If your company doesn’t make the sales numbers, it’s not just your VP of sales’ fault. It’s both yours and his (or hers). And it’s not half for either one of you. It’s 100 percent yours.
Unless the people you are leading see you take full responsibility, they won’t either. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you increase your workload; it’s a simple shift of mindset. When things happen, immediately reflect on how your leadership allowed it to happen, then start figuring out what needs to be done to fix it.
People will quickly get the message that it’s not about pointing fingers, but about getting results.
Consider a real-life example. In 1982, someone tampered with Tylenol capsules, putting the poison cyanide into a number of unsecured bottles, and seven people died. Johnson & Johnson, the manufacturer, immediately did a recall of all Tylenol bottles, issued an apology and provided relief and compensation for the families — though legally it had done absolutely nothing wrong.
The story became a case study for how to handle a crisis — by taking ownership and being honest. Many say J&J’s action increased the profile of Tylenol and made it a more trusted brand.
Compare J&J’s strategy to that of Pete Rose or Lance Armstrong, two people who lied over and over to the public, which later heard that those two athletes were, indeed, guilty. Look at these men’s legacy. Now, think what kind of person you want to be remembered as.
6. BONUS: Give yourself a break.
The last step I’m going to throw in is free: It’s about self-compassion.
Keep in mind how many positive things you help bring about in the world. In your work, your personal life, philanthropy. When things aren’t perfect, when you’re not perfect, be kind to yourself. Remember that you are a risk-taker, a creator. Smile and chuckle when you aren’t perfect. Embrace your humanness.
The good things about these steps is that they revolve around changing the way you go about leading every day. You don’t have to do anything more, just change the way you are doing them.
The benefits will be enormous. You will be more likable, people will trust you more, and you will turn into that “natural leader” we hear so much about. You have it in you; you just need the courage to live that way.
It’s all worth it. I promise.
Read the original article on Entrepreneur. Copyright 2015. Follow Entrepreneur on Twitter.

Righting FE’s wrongs


Righting FE’s wrongs
Friday, 19 June 2015 09:49 This week 800 years ago the barons rose in rebellion against the autocratic rule of King John, who at sword point agreed to Magna Carta. The anniversary was marked publicly by both the Queen and the Prime Minister, and you could be forgiven for missing the radical shift in power that the Magna Carta represented in these celebrations. But the tensions within the State eight centuries ago reflect the need for a new settlement of powers between politicians and practitioners in FE now. Education should not be the personal fiefdom of education ministers; and we must not forget that government officials considered axing all FE provision under the ConDems.

To mark Magna Carta’s anniversary Tutor Voices, the new democratic association for Further, Adult, Community and Skills educators, have published A Bill of Rights for professional educators in FE and Skills. The Bill of Rights should be seen in the context of a wider struggle to reclaim a national system of education for us all – students, parents, employers, educators and local communities. Following the announcement of a 24% cut to the adult education budget in England before the General Election a major campaign to save FE was launched by sector trade unions and sector bodies. Of course the threat to FE appears to be even graver under the new government: a petition with over 42,000 signatures opposing the cuts to FE will be presented in the coming weeks, and this week FE staff and students lobbied politicians in the new Parliament in defence of FE.
In the aftermath of the general election Eddie Playfair argues that we need to start from first principles, remind ourselves what we think education is for, and be clear about our values of “equality, democracy, solidarity, education for human progress and human flourishing.” We also need to better articulate the value of FE in terms of both social justice and economic prosperity. In Further Education and the Twelve Dancing Princesses we argue that the dreary deficit metaphor for FE as Cinderella waiting for her Prince (a benign Secretary of State, or a government that finally recognises the value of FE) must be challenged. Geoff Petty, exploring another fairy tale metaphor, argues that “it’s time we shouted our own praises as no-one else will. We are the goose that lays the golden egg and its time we got our fair share of funding.” Of course in the fairy tale the farmer who owns the magical goose eviscerates it to learn its alchemical secret – the task of raising FE’s profile and celebrating its impact is clearly urgent, and the 157 Group’s report The economic impact of further education colleges is timely.
The 10 rights and responsibilities articulated in the Bill of Rights seek to right some of FE’s wrongs for professional educators; but more importantly, they aim to enhance the learning of our students because the two are intimately connected: as the National Opportunity to Learn Campaign in the US succinctly puts it in its
Education Declaration to Rebuild America, “the working conditions of teachers are the learning conditions of students”.

Frank Coffield will be discussing the Bill of Rights at the ATL conference on Friday 10th July, and at the inaugural Tutor Voices conference in Northern College on 26th September. If you agree with the ideas expressed, join us in our campaign for change by contacting us via This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .
Joel Petrie is the advanced lecturer for HE in the City of Liverpool College, and a founding member of Tutor Voices

Speech at the Future of Education Inspection launch – Speeches – GOV.UK


Speech at the Future of Education Inspection launch – Speeches – GOV.UK
Good afternoon everyone. Welcome to the first in a series of events we are holding across the country to share more details of the important changes to inspection that will come into effect in September.
First of all, can I apologise if my voice occasionally breaks. Surgery a few months ago has slightly diminished my lung capacity.
I want to start this important conference by paying tribute to you as the leaders of our education system – people who are making such a difference to the lives of children and young people across our country.
This is not a clichéd bit of idle flattery at the start of my speech but a deeply held belief that great leadership is leading the transformation in standards few would have thought possible only a short time ago – and certainly before the start of the Ofsted era 22 years ago. This transformation needs to be proclaimed much more loudly and much more confidently.
The facts speak for themselves:
a million more children in good or outstanding schools

a larger percentage of schools moving to good from Requires Improvement and Special Measures than ever before

more schools remaining good and not declining

more youngsters reading by the age of 7 with record numbers reaching the required levels of reading, writing and mathematics at the end of Key Stage 2

outcomes at KS4, despite the odd blip, continuing to improve with more youngsters pursuing the tougher subjects at GCSE

many more young people from poor backgrounds going to university than ever before and a much greater focus in schools on closing the attainment gap

significant improvements in early years, including for the poorest children

I think it’s also worth making the point that although many of our international competitors are doing significantly better than us in the OECD tables, England’s performance in relation to the other UK countries is good. We are ahead of Wales and Northern Ireland and I know there is deep concern in Scotland over rapidly declining basic skills, particularly for poor youngsters.
Of course, there is much more to do. Regional variation in performance is still unacceptably wide and we are a long way behind the OECD top educational performers, particularly in South East Asia. But the trajectory of improvement is clear and is deserving of celebration, and not the corrosive negativity that we sometimes see and hear.
Good leadership has brought about these improvements. That is why Her Majesty’s Inspectors will focus on leadership above all else when they visit good schools and colleges during the new short inspections. Their principal task will be to determine whether the leadership team, including governors, has the capacity not only to maintain existing standards but to improve them further.
So, what sort of questions will HMI ask? Well, they are ones you would expect.
Have the leaders got a grip on the institution? Do they fully understand its strengths and weaknesses?

Have they communicated their strategy for raising standards to the key stakeholders?

Are they focussed on what really benefits children and young people, rather than wasting their time endlessly preparing for an Ofsted inspection which could be years away?

Do they refuse to accept excuses for underachievement and are they prepared to go the extra mile to compensate for family background?

Are they simply presiders over the status quo, content to take the path of least resistance or are they prepared to challenge staff and students to do better?

Have they built, or are they developing, a culture that is calm, orderly and aspirational?

Are they, for example, people who tolerate scrappy worksheets? Or are they people who insist that children should have good materials to work with, including textbooks, readers and library books which they can use for classwork and homework?

I make this last point because HMI increasingly report to me, and I’ve seen it for myself, that too many schools, particularly secondary schools, have conceded defeat on this issue. As a senior leader in a secondary school said to an HMI recently, ‘we don’t allow our children to take books home because they won’t bring them back the following day’.
What on earth does that tell us about the culture in that particular institution? What on earth does it tell us about leaders who are not prepared to fight the good fight on this basic issue?
How on earth will we ever begin to address the shocking underachievement of bright youngsters from disadvantaged homes, if we carry on patronising the poor and serving them up with lower expectations?
The latest data from the Sutton Trust should alarm us all. Over a third of ‘highly able’ boys eligible for free school meals in England fail to achieve a good set of GCSEs despite having thrived at primary school, and the situation for bright girls from disadvantaged backgrounds is not much better.
This is one of the reasons why Ofsted was so concerned about secondary school performance in my last annual report. We must really get this one right and ensure that the huge advances made at Key Stage 2, particularly for the most able, are consolidated at Key Stage 3, particularly in Year 7.
So, we need great leaders in our education system from the early years upwards. Indeed, we need more mavericks, not fewer. And I take exception to the suggestion that somehow Ofsted constrains those leaders who want to do things differently.
Far from it. There was no one more maverick than me when I led a school. But doing things differently was for one purpose and one purpose alone – to raise standards for the children in my school. There is no point in being an ‘off-the-wall’ leader if it does not serve the interests of children. I saw plenty of maverick leaders in my early days as a teacher in the Inner London Education Authority – heads of so called ‘flagship schools’ interested more in their own reputation than doing good things for the children in their institution.
Greater autonomy and greater devolution of powers to schools, governors and leaders have provided opportunities as never before.
Indeed, when people look back at this moment in the history of English education, they will see this as the age of the great educator – people who are making as much of a mark on society as the great inventors and scientists of the industrial revolution. Those involved in our own 21st century education revolution should be equally honoured and have monuments and statues built to them in towns, cities and market squares across the country.
These are the modern heroes – people who have the courage to not only improve the prospects of children in their own schools but to also transform the life chances of youngsters in underperforming institutions elsewhere, especially in the most challenging areas.
I am determined that Ofsted will recognise these system leaders.
Therefore, from September when inspectors identify a leader who has played a key role in turning around other institutions Ofsted will send a letter to that early years leader, head teacher or college principal to inform them that their leadership has been acknowledged as exceptional. A copy of this letter will go to the Secretary of State and Ofsted’s Annual Report will also feature those leaders who have been recognised in this way.
Of course, we need to work out the details of this proposal between now and September. Nevertheless, the principle is an important one. Those who are taking risks, putting themselves out and disseminating good practice beyond their own institutions need to be celebrated as exceptional reformers.
Ofsted will always empathise with those heads who are doing their best. For example, we will always support the head of a Requires Improvement (RI) school who is moving the school forward and affirm that support by letter.
Indeed, in my time as Chief Inspector I have written hundreds of such letters to head teachers whose schools are not yet good but where their leadership is making a significant difference and, within reason, we will always be flexible on the timescales for the re-inspections of RI schools where a new headteacher has recently been appointed to improve standards.
Nine out of 10 senior leaders of schools judged to require improvement say that Ofsted’s inspections have helped them improve their institution – and in the majority of instances secure a good or outstanding grade on re-inspection.
Many of the leaders I’ve just been describing are with us today. Leaders like Kevin Prunty and Peter Stumpf who have transformed Berkeley Primary School from a RI school to an outstanding one and Bella Street, an associate head who has done the same for Ashburnham Community School. Then there is Bob Ellis, who has led Deptford Green School out of special measures and has been recognised for his effective leadership as the school continues its upward journey.
From the early years we have Mark Coles from Curzon Crescent Nursery School and Karen Ashton from Muriel Green Nursery School, who have both led their previously struggling settings to good. And from the FE sector there is Mohamed Ramzen, principal at John Ruskin College in Croydon who has been instrumental in taking the institution from inadequate all the way to outstanding and fundamentally changing the curriculum on the way.
I know there are many other great leaders here today equally deserving of praise and only time prevents me from naming all of you.
If Ofsted is going to support the reforming leader, then we as an inspectorate have also got to demonstrate that we are capable of change and reform in order to keep pace with higher national expectations. I fully accept this but reject some of the nonsense that I have seen about Ofsted’s capacity to reform.
I would urge the people who make these criticisms to open their eyes and ears – we’ve done nothing but reform over the last 22 years and especially over the last 3. And if you don’t believe me, look at the inspection frameworks and guidance documents in 1992 and compare them to now. Look at the recent and most radical changes we have made to inspections across the different remits. For example:
We don’t tell teachers how to teach anymore – there is no Ofsted preferred style of teaching. Our classroom observations are used for only two reasons (1) to check the school’s own assessment of the quality of teaching and (2) to identify the strengths and weaknesses of teaching across the school.

Inspectors no longer grade the quality of teaching in individual lessons and no longer require teachers to produce lesson plans. It should be quite obvious whether the lesson had been planned or not.

Inspectors do not require lengthy policy documents. They simply want to see whether the school has a concise and accurate evaluation of its own performance.

Reports are now much simpler, clearer and more readable for parents and families.

Ofsted has significantly increased the number of serving practitioners from good and outstanding institutions into the inspection workforce. From September, 7 out of 10 Ofsted Inspectors will be serving practitioners. Indeed, I hope by the end of my tenure 100% of all inspection teams will contain a serving leader.

Lay inspectors with no experience of the classroom have been removed from inspection teams.

Lastly, and most importantly, we have ended the outsourcing contracts and are bringing all schools and FE inspection in-house to provide much greater quality assurance to the inspection process.

So, Ofsted has reformed, is reforming and will continue to reform. We will always do our best to adapt to a changing educational landscape. Let me give you two further important changes we’re making.
Firstly, today we are launching a common inspection framework. This will encompass registered early years settings, maintained schools, academies, non-association independent schools and further education and skills providers so that common judgements and common terminology can be used across all these sectors. A young person, parent or employer should be able to pick up any of Ofsted’s inspection reports and be able to understand them quickly because the format and judgements are the same.
Secondly, I intend to set up a high-level scrutiny committee in each of Ofsted’s regions, made up of HMI and senior education practitioners not involved in carrying out inspections for Ofsted. They will assess and rule on the internal reviews of complaints about inspection. Their decision will be binding on Ofsted.
What we won’t change, however, is the rigour of our inspections and our determination to shine a spotlight on underperformance. As Chief Inspector, I will continue to tell it how it is, no matter how many brick bats are thrown at Ofsted and towards me. And because I’ve done that we are seeing progress being made in previously poor performing places like Norfolk, Middlesbrough, Bristol, Wakefield and Barking and Dagenham.
So, let me now give you a bit more detail on the short inspections – detail which will be expanded on in the remit sessions.
Short inspections
As you all know, we are introducing these new-style inspections for schools and colleges that were judged good at their last inspection. We have been piloting the new approach in dozens of schools for the past three terms.
Make no mistake, this is a very different inspection model to what has gone before – as you will find out shortly in your break-out sessions.
The starting assumption of Her Majesty’s Inspectors will be that the school or college remains good. This should engender an atmosphere in which honest, challenging, professional dialogue can take place.
Leaders will have nothing to fear from accurately identifying at the outset any weaknesses in provision and I urge leaders to be honest in the self-evaluation of their institution. HMI will be looking to see that the leadership has a clear understanding of the key areas for development – and a credible and effective plan for how to address these issues.
This opening conversation should set the tone for the rest of the inspection. The purpose of the day that follows will be to validate the leader’s own assessment and to test it against data, observation and discussion with staff and students. The mantra of inspectors will be “show me what you’ve just said”.
Inspectors will share their emerging findings with the leaders. They will give clear signals about whether things are going well or not. There should be no surprises at the end of the short inspection.
As I said right at the start, the principal judgement that inspectors will make on a short inspection is the quality of leadership. Although HMI might conclude that particular areas of the organisation and curriculum are weaker than they were before, they will give credit if effective leadership is moving the institution forward.
HMI will report their findings in a concise letter to the head or principal in a language that learners, parents and employers can understand. It will confirm that the provider remains good, explain what inspectors saw, and set out specific areas for future improvement. Much of the letter will be given over to how leadership across the school or institution is maintaining standards and building capacity for further improvements.
So, short inspections will reduce the burden of inspection without losing the rigour that parents and the public rightly expect from Ofsted. It won’t be such a cliff-edge experience.
In a small proportion of cases, inspectors will form the view that they have not seen enough evidence during the day to convince them that the provision remains good. In that situation, they will convert the short inspection into a full section 5 and call in a full, comprehensive inspection team to support them.
The same conversion will apply if inspectors feel that there is sufficient evidence to suggest that the school or college may now deserve an outstanding judgement.
In either instance, a decision to convert does not mean the outcome of the full inspection is pre-determined. The overall effectiveness judgement may go up or down but equally, the full inspection may confirm that the provider does indeed remain good.
By making these changes, I am confident that Ofsted will be able to have an even greater impact on standards and on the prospects of millions of children and learners who rely on the services we inspect and regulate.
I’d like to end by thanking you again for coming today and to pay tribute for all the great work you do. Each and every one of you should be proud of what you’ve achieved in improving the life chances of the generation of young people who have passed through your care these last few years.

The Collateral Damage of Selfish Leadership

By Dan PontefractContributor I cover collaboration, leadership, engagement & purpose at work


I’m from Canada and although I’ve never played hockey, there is a colloquial expression in my country known as a “puck hog”.

No, it’s doesn’t have anything to do with pig farming and it’s also not some new form of Canadian doughnut, but it illustrates the collateral damage of a selfish leader rather well.

A puck hog is a player on a hockey team who holds onto the puck for far too long looking to score from anywhere on the ice or is so delusional about his abilities that he believes he can win the game without ever passing the puck to teammates. The same phrase is used in basketball, but replace puck with ball to get “ball hog”.

Do you know any puck or ball hog leaders in business or government or your place of work?

You know, those individuals who only look out for themselves without really caring about employees or society in general? These are the types of individuals who like to dominate, sometimes for the sport of domination itself.

Here’s some irony to think about it. What if those puck and ball hogs acted the way they did in our organizations because that’s all they have ever been conditioned to behave like? What if they don’t know how to pass? What if they had no idea there was a greater purpose than simply winning?

What if they thought the purpose of an organization was to dominate without thinking twice about the societal consequences from their actions?

Perhaps we should unassumingly blame the followers. Otherwise known as employees —individuals being led by a leader — it just may be those people making up roughly 90 percent of an organization’s population that cause this selfish sort of leadership puck hog behaviour. For example, researchers foundwhat can only be described as an alarming trend with the employee base when they discovered employees would rather be led by someone who scores high on the “dominance” scale versus the “prestige” scale. Put another way, employees are attracted to leaders who care more about (and exert) power as opposed to purpose. Thankfully, if the organization is philanthropic in nature or in a non-competitive environment, the “prestige” leader is preferred, but when it comes to winning, (i.e. competitive situations) the merciless, power-hungry leader is the more partial choice of employees.

Our organizations remain anemically disengaged (or not engaged) — according to firms such as GallupAON Hewitt and BlessingWhite — yet it seems employees would rather have their leadership team be made up of the “dominant” style, leaders who make Pol Pot and Ivan the Terrible seem friendly. This isn’t simply ironical, it’s just wrong. Nobody really likes a puck hog at work, do they?

Of course not all leaders are selfish either. It’s not as though every leader aspires to dominate like the Serengeti Lion of the Vumbi Pride does in Africa. Thankfully there are other leadership styles.

For example, Daniel Goleman indicated in 2000 there are six different leadership styles a leader might use, but as he writes, “only four of the six consistently have a positive effect on climate and results.” As you might deduce from their descriptors, the coercive and authoritative styles are not as beneficial or positive as the affiliative, democratic, pacesetting orcoaching styles he outlined.

Not to be outdone, researchers Gary Williams and Robert Miller proved more than a decade ago in Harvard Business Review that there are in fact five different types of leadership styles. They found leaders to be classified as charismatics, followers, skeptics, controllers or thinkersindicating, however, that “each style can be highly effective in certain environments.”

The onset of defining leadership styles for the masses might have come from Paul Hersey and Ken Blanchard when they created the Hersey-Blanchard Situational Leadership model in the late 1960’s. Their four-tier model – selling, telling, participating and delegating – can still be found in corporate training seminars across the globe, but it is often proven by academics to be a flawed if not inconsistent model.

A few years ago, I was being somewhat cheeky and put together my own leadership style model, dubbing it the “Leadership Tonic Scale” where the levels of moronic, ironic, platonic, iconic andharmonic can be found.

But it’s the selfish leader – those choosing to lead with a perilous fixation on power, pay and/or profit – that might be causing much of the disengagement and dissatisfaction in today’s organization. It just may be this type of leadership style that has caused US middle class net worth to drop to mid-1960’s levels when (shockingly) adjusted to 2013 dollars. This is not a good thing.

It’s precisely why I’m on a personal mission to make 2015 (and beyond) the point at which we reintroduce purpose into the organization … and leadership in general.

Far too many employees are being duped into thinking the puck hog (and thus the selfish leader) is the manner in which leadership is supposed to manifest. Leaders ultimately have two actions to take. First, a refined definition that outlines a new ‘purpose of the organization’ is required. Second, leaders also need to redefine what it means to be both an employee and a leader in this new ‘purposeful organization’. I suppose that’s three actions, but work with me.

Many employees have been conditioned to believe the purpose of an organization is to fuel the needs of senior leaders in the leaders’ quest for “dominance”. That dominance often comes in the form of maximizing shareholder value (particularly in for-profit, publicly traded organizations, explained eloquently in Forbes by Steve Denning) and in the form of increased power and control, be it within for-profit or public sector organizations. (Think bureaucracy, shutdowns and partisan policymaking.) This is ball hogging at its finest.

In its simplest form, we need to dial back the “dominance” and increase the level of “prestige” in leadership.

We need to balance ‘purpose with power’ while introducing an elegant dose of ‘management with meaning’.

Arguably, we needn’t look any further for an example of purpose in the organization – and in their leadership style – than Etsy.

Founded in 2005 by Robert Kalin, Chris Maguire, and Haim Schoppik, Etsy is a very successful online marketplace for artisans and others to sell unique goods to citizens of the world. This past Christmas, I used Etsy to purchase a Bicycle Wheel Clock for my sister and brother-in-law from a wonderful artist in Oregon. There are over 40 million Etsy members and over 1 million active Etsy shops in 200 countries. In 2013, their sellers grossed more than $1.35 billion in sales and although the numbers aren’t in yet, 2014 revenues have no doubt exceeded 2013. What makes Etsy so special, however, (aside from being a registered B Corp) comes from their self-described mission

Etsy’s mission is to reimagine commerce in ways that build a more fulfilling and lasting world. We are building a human, authentic and community-centric global and local marketplace. We are committed to using the power of business to create a better world through our platform, our members, our employees and the communities we serve. As we grow, commitment to our mission remains at the core of our identity. It is woven into the decisions we make for the long-term health of our ecosystem, from the sourcing of our office supplies to our employee benefits to the items sold in our marketplace.

One might argue that all senior leaders in today’s organizations need to “reimagine commerce in ways that build a more fulfilling and lasting world.” One might argue that the definition of leadership — shifting from dominance to prestige and from puck hogging to puck sharing — is how we might indeed redefine a new “purpose of the organization”.

As leaders and organizations remain selfish, the collateral damage affects employees, customers, partners and society in general. Etsy and its leadership team knew from the very inception date of their company a decade ago in 2005 that the organization they were building would be true and purposeful to all stakeholders, not simply profit seekers. They didn’t become an organization (or a founding leadership team) that put profit or power before purpose. On the contrary, profit and power became balanced with purpose. The collateral damage at Etsy is non-existent, and millions of stakeholders have benefitted. (And my sister and brother-in-law have a fabulous new Christmas gift clock.)

In his book, Management Challenges for the 21st Century, published in 1999, Peter Drucker issued a warning signal for leaders looking to build a more innovative and purpose-driven organization. Drucker wrote:

“We will have to redefine the purpose of the employing organization and of its management as both, satisfying the legal owners, such as shareholders, and satisfying the owners of the human capital that gives the organization its wealth-producing power, that is, satisfying the knowledge workers. For increasingly the ability of organizations — and not only of businesses — to survive will come to depend on their ‘comparative advantage’ in making the knowledge worker productive. And the ability to attract and hold the best of the knowledge workers is the first and most fundamental precondition.” (Peter Drucker. Management for the 21st Century. HarperCollins. 1999.)

At the risk of attempting to outdo several literary and leadership giants like Drucker — and as a soft introduction to my next book, releasing soon — I define the new purpose of an organization as follows:

“The purpose of an organization is to delight its customers through engaged and empowered employees, acting ethically within society to deliver just profitability that benefits all stakeholders including the community, workers and owners.”

I’d like to see more Etsy-like organizations in 2015 and beyond. I’d like to see more organizations utilize this new “purpose of the organization” definition from above to balance dominance with prestige, purpose with power and management with meaning.

This is my first Forbes piece. I hope you join me in the future for further insights and thoughts as we try to eradicate the puck and ball hogs from our firms, ultimately eliminating the collateral damage of selfish leadership, improving employee engagement and society on the whole. I believe it’s time we create a new organizational purpose and an improved definition of what it means to be both an employee and a leader for the stakeholders we serve.

After all, it was Peter Drucker who once wrote, “Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.” 

Government kick-starts plans to reach 3 million apprenticeships – Press releases – GOV.UK


Government kick-starts plans to reach 3 million apprenticeships – Press releases – GOV.UK
apprenticeships to be given equal legal treatment as degrees

commitment to create 3 million apprenticeships by 2020 will be enshrined in law

public sector bodies will be set targets to help reach 3 million

The term ‘apprenticeship’ will be protected in law, the government has announced today (14 June 2015). This will strengthen their reputation, help working people and ensure apprenticeships are recognised as a career path equal to higher education.
With over 2.2 million apprenticeships created since 2010 to help establish the UK as the fastest growing economy in the G7, the government will also enshrine in law its commitment to create 3 million apprenticeships by 2020.
With apprenticeships giving hope and opportunity to more young people, and helping all types and sizes of businesses grow in communities across the UK, the Skills Minister will legally protect the term ‘apprenticeship’ through the Enterprise Bill. This will give government the power to take action when the term is misused to promote low quality courses.
To ensure that more young people can benefit the minister has also announced that public bodies will now be set targets to take on more apprentices. Schools, hospitals, prisons and police forces will all be creating opportunities for young people to get on.
Skills Minister Nick Boles said:
If university graduates have their moment in the sun so should people who undertake apprenticeships. Businesses know their value so it’s high time they were recognised both by the public and in law as being equal to degrees.
We want far more employers to get involved in apprenticeships. This means making sure that we practise what we preach in government, so we’re going require all public sector bodies – schools, hospitals, prisons and police forces – to employ apprentices.
Notes to editors
Apprenticeships give young people the security of a pay packet and dignity of a recognised qualification and the millions of apprentices being supported will help carry the UK economy forward.

Employers are already key to developing the skills the country needs. With more than 1,200 employers in over 100 sectors are already involved in the Trailblazer programme.

The Enterprise Bill will create jobs and offer hardworking people opportunity at every stage of their lives – it is part of the government’s long-term economic plan to build a better and brighter future for Britain.

The Bill will be introduced to Parliament in the Autumn and the exact requirement on individual public bodies will be set out to a longer timescale.

the Civil Service and Public Bodies employ over half a million people

there have been more than 2.2 million apprenticeship starts since May 2010

apprenticeships are proven to increase the earnings of those who undertake them

7 out of 10 employers found apprenticeships useful to their business

from accountancy to engineering to TV production, apprenticeships are giving people the skills they need to get on

apprenticeships are available at some of our best companies, large and small – like Google, ITV, Sky, IBM and BAE Systems

apprenticeships are available right up to degree level

Jamie Oliver, Karen Millen, Stella McCartney, and Ross Brawn all started their careers as apprentices

Enterprise Bill:
The Enterprise Bill was announced in the Queen’s speech on 27 May 2015. It includes measures to:
progress the government’s commitment to cut red tape and save business at least £10 billion over this Parliament

create a Small Business Conciliation Service to help resolve disputes between businesses, especially over late payment

improve the business rates system, including by modernising the appeals system

end 6 figure payoffs for the best paid public sector workers

Forget gap years and get a job in JD Sports, advises City lawyer


Students should abandon gap-year plans and work at a local sports shop or a supermarket, according to a City lawyer.
Sandie Okoro, global lead lawyer for HSBC Global Asset Management, argued that students were better off getting “old-fashioned Saturday jobs” rather than spending 12 months at a far-flung animal sanctuary or orphanage. Such projects mainly signalled that “daddy is rich”, according to Okoro.
“Forget about the going to China and changing the world or whatever. What are you actually doing that’s different? I want people who can come to me and have had real experiences,” said Okoro in comments reported by the Daily Telegraph.
Speaking at the Girls’ Day School Trust conference, Okoro said gap years had “become the norm” and almost formulaic. “I see lots of similar things of the gap years. I’d like to see the mundane and ordinary come back in.”
She added: “It is very difficult to get into the workplace because it isn’t just about academics any more. And in some professions everyone’s got the same academics, and they can speak five languages as well. What are you going to bring to me that isn’t in front of me on somebody else’s CV?
“I see all these wonderful places, they’ve gone off to China and built an orphanage, they’ve done this and done that. OK, so your daddy is rich. That’s great. But when have you worked at JD Sports at the weekend to earn some money? When have you dealt with the public? They don’t care where you went to school.”
Okoro had a Saturday job at Marks & Spencer before embarking on a City career. She said: “If you come from a background where things are a little bit more challenging financially, you can’t afford to take that gap year and do that. You’re thinking how am I going to pay those university fees.

“I’d like to see the effort from the person. In the independent sector, there’s a lot of networking where you’re plugged into these things. It’s easier to go to China or to go and help in an orphanage. But what if you’re not plugged into that? Actually, spending a year working at JD Sports and maybe moving up to supervisor is just as significant and should be valued.”
Gap years have drawn criticism before. In 2010, a three-minute video entitled Gap Yah went viral in which actor Matt Lacey satirised people “who seem to be leaving these shores to vomit all over the developing world

Urgent reform of skills system a priority – survey shows


In a report to mark the launch of Adult Learners’ Week (13 – 19 June), NIACE warns that the Government must transform the employment and skills system to avoid a productivity crisis.  
Raising the Productive Potential of the Economy sets out NIACE’s recommendations, ahead of more detailed proposals for the spending review, on how rapid progress can be made despite further pressures on unprotected Departmental budgets. The calls to action include:
Protected funding for English, maths, Traineeships and ESOL, which should be delivered through the new Citizens’ Curriculum.

Britain’s five million low paid workers should be supported to progress through a new Career Advancement Service.

Halving the disability employment gap through Government funding for new locally-designed pilots for distinct employment programmes for disabled people.

Teenagers’ ‘promising futures at risk’ from cuts


By Hannah Richardson

BBC News education reporter

Councils have a duty to identify and reduce teenage disengagement

Further council funding cuts will put thousands of youngsters’ “promising futures” at risk, say town hall bosses.

A Local Government Association survey of councils in England, says 90% have cut services for teenagers not in education, employment and training.

Local authorities have seen funding cuts of 40% since 2010, and their responsibility for careers advice and further education has been removed.

The government said the teenage Neet rate was now 64,000 lower than in 2010.

And it highlighted that it is investing £7bn “to fund a place for every 16- to 18-year-old in England who wants one”.

Since 2012, local councils in England have no longer had control over careers advice, which has switched to schools.

Local authority-run Connexions services were one of the first areas to be cut under the previous coalition government.

Councils have also lost control of post-16 education and schemes to tackle young people’s disengagement.

But the LGA points out that local authorities still have a duty to encourage 16- to 18-year-olds to remain in education, employment or training and ensure there are enough opportunities available locally.

It says local councils are best-placed to oversee support for 14- to 21-year-old Neets because they know what is needed on the ground.

And it warns the advances that it has made could be lost with further cuts ahead.

David Simmonds, chairman of the LGA’s Children and Young People Board, said: “The message from local government is clear.

“Cuts without reform risk undoing all of our collective good work, putting thousands of promising futures at risk.

“Councils are uniquely well placed to help young people access the opportunities created by the local employers increasingly frustrated by remote national institutions.

“It is important that we have the powers, levers and funding to fulfil our legal duties to young people.

“The new government has a real opportunity to build on recent successes and meet its ambition of full employment by enabling local partnerships of councils, schools, colleges, jobcentres and employers to locally coordinate a single youth offer.

“It will ensure every young person is either in work or learning.”

A survey of 87 local authorities for the LGA also suggests the vast majority (97%) believe services for young people will be put at risk unless councils regain powers over them and general council cuts are avoided.

The Department for Education said: “Thanks to our essential reforms, there are 64,000 fewer 16- to 18-year-olds Neets than there were in 2010.

“We have ended the historic and unfair funding difference between schools and colleges from the 16-19 funding formula, and are maintaining funding rates for 2015-16 so they can plan their future offers for students.

“We are also reforming academic qualifications and vocational education to ensure young people get the knowledge and skills that they need to move into a job, apprenticeship or to continue their education.”

The rate of 16- to 18-year-olds who are Neet has tended to fluctuated between 8% and 10% over the past decade, but has been following a downward trend since 2008.

Colleges cancel classes to cope with GCSE resits boom


Colleges in England are struggling to deal with a huge increase in the numbers of young people resitting English and maths GCSEs.
The unprecedented numbers have created huge logistical issues for colleges, some of which have had to suspend their entire curriculum while they use classrooms and offices as makeshift exam rooms. 
Some have had to book external venues to cope with the demand, including town halls and places of worship. City College Norwich even hired the arena at the Norfolk Showground, transporting more than 1,100 students to the venue in a fleet of double-decker buses for Tuesday’s English paper.
The problems have arisen because this year all students who did not achieve grades A*-C in GCSE maths and English by the age of 16 have had to continue to retake the subjects as part of their further studies.
Colleges have warned that the situation is set to worsen with the introduction of new, more academic GCSEs this September and the requirement that all students who achieve a D grade will have to retake until they get at least a C. This year, students can opt for functional skills qualifications instead. From next year, however, that option will not be available.
Colleges are calling on the government for more support to help them deal with the situation.
At Kirklees College in West Yorkshire, more than 600 students sat Tuesday’s English exam – double the number of last year. Some 1,800 were enrolled for the two maths exams scheduled for Monday and yesterday, also twice 2014’s figure. 
The college decided to limit the use of external venues and host exams in more than 70 on-site classrooms, in order to make students feel more comfortable. However, it still had to use a nearby Sikh leisure centre because of a lack of space.
Kirklees has also been forced to train dozens of teaching and administrative staff to act as exam invigilators. As a result, deputy principal June Durrant said the college had taken the “radical and unprecedented” step of suspending the rest of the curriculum on the days of the exams. 
“These are very significant numbers; it is a massive increase for us,” she said. “Logistically it’s quite a significant undertaking, but we have to take decisions that best suit the students. 
“It is important that they get their GCSEs because they are the gold standard. But it would be better if more of the students coming to us already had them.”
City College Norwich principal Corrienne Peasgood said that hiring the nearby arena to host the exams, combined with laying on transport for students, had cost more than £50,000.
“We would have needed double the number of invigilators if we had held the exams across our classrooms,” she said. “It didn’t seem fair to put such disruption on the other students. I’m not sure the consequences of this political decision were fully realised. I don’t think anybody really thought what it would mean for colleges logistically.” 
Gill Clipson, deputy chief executive of the Association of Colleges (AoC), said: “We are having reported to us that the volume of students [taking resits] has increased dramatically. This is causing serious logistical issues for many colleges, as well as the hidden costs of re-timetabling and taking on additional staff.
“We mustn’t underestimate the practical issues that colleges are facing.”
The AoC has also called on the government to work with colleges and employers to develop new, rigorous maths and English qualifications that are related to the world of work and everyday life.
“There must be a recognition that, after 11 years of schooling, some students haven’t reached this gold standard,” Ms Clipson said. “Students are coming into colleges demoralised and -demotivated, and it’s not only a matter of improving their competence but confidence, too. The situation will only become more exaggerated next year.”
Ms Clipson said there should also be more flexibility in the system, with more resit opportunities throughout the year.
A spokesman for the Department for Education said: “In order to make sure young people are ready for work, we want to make sure all those leaving education have high standards of maths and literacy. That is why we are supporting all those who do not achieve A*-C grades in maths and English at GCSE to reach that standard.
“Funding is allocated on a per-pupil basis and this covers exam entry. We also provide an additional £480 per student, per subject for all those with English or maths below grade C at GCSE, to fund additional support for learning.
“FE colleges are already making good progress in ensuring all 16- to 19-year-olds are given the opportunity to secure GCSEs in English and maths by age 19, and we know the vast majority of colleges are on track to enrol all students without A*-C GCSE on approved English and maths courses.” 
For the full story, get the 5 June edition of TES on your tablet or phone, or by downloading the TES Reader app for Android or iOS. Or pick it up at all good newsagents.

HERE WE GO!!  Education department faces £450m of savings


George Osborne has announced a £4.5bn package of savings aimed at cutting public debt

The Department for Education budget faces savings of £450m, as part of a Treasury announcement to bring down public debt this year.
The savings in the DFE are to come from the “administration of arm’s-length bodies” and “non-schools” spending, says the Treasury.
The Conservatives gave an election pledge to protect the schools budget.
Shadow chancellor Chris Leslie called on ministers to “spell out urgently” where the cuts would fall.
The savings in education spending were announced by the Treasury as part of a £4.5bn package to reduce public debt.
But the Department for Education has indicated that this will include savings based on underspends in existing budgets, rather than cuts.
“These savings will come from a variety of measures including expected departmental underspends in demand-led budgets, efficiencies and some small budgetary reductions,” said a Department for Education spokeswoman.
This means that in some parts of the department’s spending plans there has been less demand for some services than had been budgeted for – and this underspend will now be absorbed as savings.
It means that reductions would be likely to be spread across budgets within the department, rather than in any particular individual saving or closure.
The Conservatives made a manifesto promise to protect per-pupil spending, including rising pupil numbers, during the next Parliament.
The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills faces cuts of £450m, with the Treasury saying that this will include “savings in higher education and further education budgets”.
A department spokesman said that “priority areas for growth and productivity” would be protected, including science and apprenticeships.
There will also be savings from underspends, in areas such as the regional growth fund and “funding compensation to energy-intensive industries” where there were fewer claims than expected.
Chancellor George Osborne said the announcement was “getting on with what we promised”.
“Reducing the deficit – that is how you deliver lasting economic security for working people. For as everyone knows, when it comes to living within your means, the sooner you start, the smoother the ride.”
Labour’s Chris Leslie, said: “Nobody disagrees with sensible efficiencies, because spending does need to fall in unprotected areas, but why is the chancellor hiding the detail?
“George Osborne needs to spell out urgently who is paying the price in this chaotic process. This is a shambolic approach to planning public services, ripping up his own ‘long-term plan’ set out just weeks ago in the March Budget. Savings need to be made through proper reform not short-term salami slicing