The learning revolution


  

http://www.fenews.co.uk/fe-news/the-learning-revolution
Ann Gravells is an author, creator of teacher training resources and an education consultant – she can be contacted via her website: www.anngravells.co.uk

I attended the annual FE National Conference: The Learning Revolution, on 26th March at the Thistle Hotel Heathrow, organised by Paul Tully of Newbubbles. Newbubbles’ mission is to support further education (FE) and to promote the interests of all those that work in the sector. I thought I would take this opportunity to summarise the event in this article. 


You can download the event materials from the various speakers by clicking here.

The conference was subtitled 
The art of teaching, what happened to imagination?It happened to be ‘I love FE day’ which I must admit, I hadn’t heard of until the event. I’m not really sure who decided we should love FE today or what it was all about. This was one of those things that made me think there is just so much going on, and so much change in our sector that it’s so difficult to keep up with it all. This year, we have a consultation taking place regarding the QCF (ending 17th June), changes to the Common Inspection Framework (CIF) and a new centre forVocational Education Research . There’s also cuts to funding, changes to apprenticeships, changes to qualifications and more. Oh, and of course we have a general election, which is bound to affect what happens in our sector. I wonder if we will ever have stability, or do we in fact thrive on the challenges the changes bring us?

The conference started with keynote speaker 
Paul Joyce (Senior Inspector for Ofsted) who talked about meeting the needs of learners, the future of education inspection and the revised CIF which will take effect from September. He said subjects will not be graded, but areas will, i.e. 16-19, apprenticeships etc. He stated qualifications should add value to a learner and prepare them for their future career prospects, as well as equip them with the skills employers are looking for. I don’t think anyone would disagree with this, however, he took a hammering from some in the room who said that Ofsted stifle passionate teaching.

Prof Robert Winston gave an interesting talk entitled The skill of learning . He stated the more we repeat things, the more the connections between the neurons in the brain take place. He also argued nurture was more important than nature.

Prof Frank Coffield received a riotous applause for his speech entitled Resistance is Fertile . He talked about all the changes our sector has gone through, and how various bodies in the sector came and went. He mentioned cosmetic consultation , the tick box system and how we need more democracy. He, along with a group of others, is promoting Tutors’ Voices (provisional name) to be the voice of democratic professionalism. It will be an independent professional association for all those in our sector. It would seek to influence policy amongst other things. Please e-mail TutorsVoices@mail.comThis e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it to express your interest, it’s free to join.

Geoff Petty felt the present role of leadership in FE is broken in his speechThe leaders are teachers revolution.

Prof Susan Wallace asked what happened to imagination? She stated imagination is more important than knowledge, as knowledge is finite.

Trevor Gordon spoke about Equality, integrity and the management of teaching. He felt teachers’ creativity is being stifled, and he feels that professionalising the sector will stifle passion.

The last keynote speech was from David Corke of the AOC who was concerned with the 24% cut to the adult skills budget, as we all are.
A panel discussion took place, with questions from the delegates. At one point Prof Robert Winston and Prof Frank Coffield had a real public disagreement and I secretly hoped this was being filmed to go on YouTube.

Dr John Lea summarised the speeches by stating that FE gives opportunities to people they can’t get elsewhere. He said we need to defend our sector by lobbying, showing our passion and having a strong evidence base for what we are saying. Perhaps the new association Tutors’ Voices will be able to achieve this.

The afternoon offered the opportunity for delegates to attend various workshops by some of the keynote speakers, and to learn more about showcasing best practice from other speakers. These included: Bradley Lightbody, Isabella WallaceBob CraigDr Abi Lucas, Tony DavisAndy Green and Sally Challis-Manning.

From talking to other delegates and the speakers, I felt the key theme coming through from the day was passion. However, it’s the passion to be able to do our jobs without interference and stifling from bodies which constantly seem to force change upon us. I feel we are a resilient lot in our sector, and we are very capable of dealing with change and turning it into something positive, for the benefit of the learners and our own sanity.

Next year’s FE National Conference will again be organised by Paul Tully of Newbubbles. It will be on Friday 25th March 2016, at the Thistle Hotel, Heathrow and is titled ‘The Great Assessment Debate’.

Ann Gravells is an author, creator of teacher training resources and an education consultant – she can be contacted via her website: www.anngravells.co.uk

This entry was posted in FE News by Paul Champion. Bookmark the permalink.

About Paul Champion

Some have called me a leader, and a entrepreneur, they say I have integrity, presence and skills to ensure continuous improvement and success in whatever challenges I face. They also tell me that I am positive, resilient and motivating. I say, I'm just a normaI guy from Gateshead in the North of England, who started as an apprentice engineer. I have been in the right place at the right time and in the wrong place at the wrong time! I have successfully initiated and led complex organizations and situations to completion and success, and I have been in some jobs where success seemed untouchable. Mainly though, I have tried to learn everyday, help people to progress and learn the skills they need to be successful. I have had the privilege of working with some great people locally across the UK and more recently internationally in Asia, Europe and now USA, where I am lucky enough to work for www.3aaa.co.uk where I am head of 3aaa USA. This website is just me having an outlet to talk about all those thoughts, ideas and things I learn that pass through my head every day when I face the challenge of doing business. I will also rant on about how great apprenticeships are, and how you can help change peoples lives through them. After all thats how I got to do the great things that I have done, and also I am still an apprentice everyday! All I ask is that if you find it interesting then leave a comment and share what you read. THANK YOU.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s