THE WEEK IN HEADLINES – APPRENTICESHIPS, PROGRESS 8 AND LONDON SUCCESS.

Hello Readers

The summer is nearly over, and the Linking London office is gearing up for a brand new term of staff development events. Yet though term is yet to begin, the news never sleeps, and so we once more have collated a summary of the week’s educational news for your reading pleasure.

Apprenticeships

Once again apprenticeships are making headlines: FE Week reported that 16-18 apprentices have had their funding cut by roughly 30%, with learners in more deprived areas of London seeing cuts of up to 50%.This revelation led former HE minister, David Lammy, to criticise the Prime Minister (again in FE Week), describing the cuts as “devastating for young people in deprived areas”.

Linking London has also noticed a decrease in sponsored degree programmes, with providers reclassifying their ‘work and learn’ qualifications as apprenticeships to avoid the new levy.  If the government’s apprenticeship target is only met by reclassifying existing programmes and cutting funds to others then surely the achievement will be undermined by the cost?

Progress 8

GCSEs have featured heavily in the press over the last week, partly due to results day, but also because of the new GCSE grading system, Progress 8, since the first qualifications under the new scheme are due to be awarded next year.  The Telegraph dedicated a feature to the new grading system, explaining the relationship between the previous A-C  grades and the new numerical ones:

“It is thought that roughly the same number of students will achieve a grade 4 and above as currently achieve a grade C and above, while the top 20 per cent of those who get a grade 7 and above, will get a grade 9. Grade 5 – equivalent to a low B or high C – will be the new benchmark for a “good pass” required by league tables, where currently the required grade is C.”

When mapping 2017 entry criteria Linking London has noticed some institutions equating 4 as the C ‘baseline’ equivalent, and others cite 5 as the criteria. When unis compare A-C grades with 1-9 ones who will the comparison benefit? Will it be easier or harder to achieve the grade necessary to progress to FE, and thus HE? Only time will tell. If you want to know more about Progress 8, TES have created a guide to the new qualification.

Capital

London is officially the most educated city in Europe, according to the BBC. In terms of graduate numbers “It is above anywhere in the European Union and unlike anywhere else in the United Kingdom”. We have always known London was an intellectual hub, but it is heartening to have our thoughts confirmed. Linking London exists to support institutions in the capital, who in turn support these vast quantities of students, gradually increasing social mobility through the power of education.

More from the team next week.

THE WEEK OF EXAM RESULTS

Hello!

This week the education press has been awash with Results Day facts, figures and theories, so we thought we would offer you a bumper blog post on all things results-day-related.

A Level Focus

A Levels have, predictably, been the focus of the results day headlines, partly this will be because BTEC learners do not have an official results day, and partly because A Levels are always the focal qualification in progression features, as they are seen as the ‘norm’.

So what were the A Level Headlines this year?

The Evening Standard Reported that the “gap between girls and boys getting the top grades at A-level has fallen to its lowest for at least 10 years” In fact more boys achieved the coveted A* grade than girls this year.

Although a record number of HE places have been offered this year, the BBC has reported that fewer students achieved the top A* and A grades than in 2015, though the overall pass rate stayed at last year’s figure of 98.1%

The Telegraph produced a useful chart which depicted the best and worst performing A Levels of the year. Pass rates for History, Economics and Politics have plummeted, while Maths and Language subjects have seen strong pass rates in 2016, despite reports that Language A Levels are declining in popularity.

What about BTEC?

Articles featuring BTEC learners have, as previously mentioned, been rather thin on the ground.  Luckily Pearson, the BTEC awarding body, is one of Linking London’s partners, and their team kindly provided us with the findings of a recently published Social Market Foundation Report ‘Passports to Progress’ which focuses on vocational qualifications

100,000 students progressing to HE now have a BTEC qualification – double the amount recorded 8 years ago.

This means 1 in 4 HE learners has a BTEC.

Between 2008-2015 the number of students from disadvantaged backgrounds entering HE with A levels increased by 19%, compared to the 116% increase seen by BTEC learners from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Overview

To summarise A Levels have retained their pass rate but not the top grades, though the gender gap is narrowing and progression to HE is strong.

Although BTEC students have largely been absent from the news a quarter of students progressing to HE hold a BTEC qualification. More students from disadvantaged backgrounds are entering HE than ever before (the TES reports they are 81% more likely to apply than 10 years ago) and this widening participation success is largely due to the BTEC qualification. As the SMF report states: : “For young people taking A levels, prospects for progression into higher education depend heavily on where they are from. For young people taking BTECs, or a combination of BTECs and A levels, entry rates are much more even across areas”

That’s all from our Results Day special, more Linking London news next Monday.

THE WEEK IN HEADLINES

Hello Readers

Though most of the headlines over the past week have been devoted to the Olympic gold-medal-rush (congratulations Team GB), hidden amongst the column inches devoted to sporting spectacle have been some education stories which could have huge implications for our sector. This week our blog unpacks some of the biggest education stories of the past seven days.

National Student Survey

The results of HEFCE’s 2016 National Student Survey were published last week, with 86% of undergraduates in the final year of Higher Education responding that they are satisfied with their university programme. Out of Linking London’s partners, the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama was within the top 20 institutions for student satisfaction, and UEL were named as having one of the largest increases in satisfaction year on year (up 5%).

Several Further Education Colleges achieved 100% student satisfaction for their HE provision. Many of Linking London’s FEC partners provide Higher Education qualifications, and we hope this success in the National Student Survey will shine a brighter light on the importance of the provision colleges offer for HE students. Our colleagues as the Association of Colleges were also thrilled, with David Corke, Director of Education Policy at the AoC, stating on the their site:

“The colleges that provide higher education work very hard to ensure they are providing a quality service to their students and the local community and it is gratifying to see that students themselves say they are pleased with the education they receive.”

Apprenticeship Levy Update

On Friday the government published guidance on how the new Apprenticeship Levy would operate. The update is available to read in full here. TES have also published a handy 9 point guide to the update and its implications for the sector. Although the report indicates the levy is still set to be introduced next April, FE Week has reported that the CBI’s director for employment and skills doubts the new system will be ready for successful delivery by the deadline.

Our NNCO website HECAIL contains a free guide to Degree and Higher Apprenticeships, while Linking London members can access the partner area of our website to find our other published resources on Apprenticeships.

A Level Results Day

As we all know, A Level results day is fast approaching this week, and many publications have featured stories telling students how to survive the day – whether their results are better or worse than expected.  The Independent’s ‘A-level results day: the 5 things students should not do’ could be useful for advisers who are trying to calm anxious students, and the Guardian has a feature dedicated to Clearing success stories which some may find helpful. For readers seeking a summary of UCAS Clearing and UCAS Extra, we have a guide available in the ‘After Application’ section of our NNCO website.

That’s all our headlines for this week, more news from us to come next Monday.

THE WEEK OF SPORTS & EDUCATION

Hello!

Unless you were hiding under a rock this weekend (or holed-up the Lake District as I was) you will have noticed that the Olympics have started. We awoke this morning to news of a first gold medal for team GB (well done Peaty!), and the BBC coverage is eagerly reminding viewers that they too can participate in the sports they are witnessing on screen.

Since the sporting world is dominating the media headlines worldwide, our blog post this week also has a sporting focus, and examines the world of sports education. Andrew, our Deputy Director, has almost completed a new Sports publication, which details entry requirements, graduate career prospects and course specifications for undergraduate sports students.

In the guide’s opening paragraph Andrew explains why this guide is such a topical publication, and relevant to contemporary Higher Education:

“The London Olympics and Paralympics in 2012 only increased the nation’s appetite for sporting endeavours, boosting the already popular pastime even further. As a result greater numbers of students are opting for Sporting qualifications within Higher Education, and a greater number of universities now supply sporting courses.”

Look out for the publication at the beginning of the autumn term. In the meantime we have collated some Sports Education statistics (using our EMSI LMI tool and what uni.com) for your reading pleasure.

There are 60,374 sports related jobs in London.

The Sports Industry within London is predicted to grow by 2.4% by the year 2020

The London average annual earnings for sporting careers? £21k (the national average is only £16k)

The number of Sports & Exercise Science HE acceptances has risen from 9,255 in 2007, to 15,205 in 2015

The number of applications for Sports & Exercise Science courses rose from 49,905 in 2007, to 71,230 in 2015

Sports Undergraduates have an average of 17 teaching hours per week

71% of sports students are male

And finally, on the hot topic of employability, 96% of Sports & Exercise Science students are employed 6 months after graduating.

That’s all from us this week, more next Monday.

THE WEEK IN EDUCATION NEWS

Hello Readers

The summer months are quiet ones for the education sector. The time when students and teachers alike flee the classroom to enjoy the sunshine (well, some of the time), and when we hunker down in our office to busily prepare resources and events schedules for the coming term.

So rather than repeat last week’s post, and reel off the extensive list of conferences, workshops and publications we are working on, I have decided to use this week’s post to examine the latest educational news, and how it ties in to the work of Linking London.

The Brexit Backlash

The majority of the Education sector voted to remain in the EU, but we were in the minority as the referendum results revealed. Much of the sector is still reeling, asking what Britain’s exit from the EU means for Higher Education.

Britain’s future in the Erasmus scheme has been thrown into doubt, with the head of the programme refusing to guarantee British participation beyond next year. We also heard this week that new Prime Minister Theresa May is considering placing heavier restrictions on student visas, allowing only the very best foreign students’ access to British Universities. Many of our partners have issued statements reassuring current EU applicants that they are still welcome, and that the immigration status of current students remains (as yet) unchanged.

HEI leaders from 24 EU countries have signed a statement acknowledging the imminent Brexit, but calling for collaboration to continue in spite of it:  “We as European university leaders wish to reaffirm our commitment to international cooperation and exchange in this turbulent time for Europe. We are strongest when we tackle issues collaboratively”.  These sentiments on the power of collaboration are shared by the Linking London team – through our collaborative partnership we aim to make our members stronger, and better prepared for the future of the sector.

The Future of FE

HE in FE is often overlooked, yet around 159,000 learners are studying HE at college.  Currently many FE practitioners fear the implications of the HE Bill, and are concerned that the Office for Students could price colleges out of the HE sector.  Many of our partner colleges provide HE for students. If they were no longer able to afford an HE offer this would be a serious blow to disadvantaged London students who rely upon their local provision.

Social Mobility

Finally this week there has been much discussion regarding the relationship between social mobility and education – a topic close to our hearts, as Linking London was founded to pursue improvements in student achievement, social mobility and social justice.

Alan Milburn, Social Mobility Commission Chairman, believes: “It will be impossible to make progress in improving social mobility until the educational attainment gap between less well-off and better-off children is closed.”

We welcome Mr Milburn’s comments on the importance of education to social mobility – Linking London operates on the belief that through education learners can overcome class barriers and realise their ambitions.

More news, updates and commentary next week.

 

THE WEEK OF MOVING AND NEW MEMBERS

Hello All

Last week was moving week for Linking London! We boxed up all our resources and headed over to Tavistock Square, where we now reside on the 4th floor of the BMA (100 stairs up – I counted when the lift broke). We are now firmly settled in, and have a lovely view from our window, as you can see in the photo below.

Our New Office View

Our New Office View

In more good news this week our Director Sue welcomed Brunel University into the partnership. We now have a grand total of 42 members as we approach a decade of successful partnership this September.

Planning for our 10 year anniversary celebration is going full steam ahead; the RSVP’s are filling our inboxes, and both the evening entertainment and anniversary brochure are very nearly finalised.  Senate House here we come!

Even with moving office to contend with, we still found time for plenty of partnership work. As well as our monthly team meeting, planning is very much underway for events for the forthcoming academic year.  Deputy Director Andrew and I have been busy, both updating old resources, and creating new ones, to share with the partners upon completion. These include an Adviser Guide, an Access Guide to Nursing Midwifery and Allied Health, and an ICT guide for advisers.

Our NNCO Project Officer Emily is very pleased to announce the new date for the postponed NNCO Conference – the event will now be held on Monday the 17th October, and more details will follow shortly on the website.  In the meantime, as well as orchestrating the timetable for the forthcoming conference, Emily is planning a subject specific ICT event for the autumn term. Work continues on our HECAIL website, and we hope to populate it with many more resources over the summer months. We are particularly proud of our interactive map, which marks all providers of HE in the London area, and allows users to filter the map view by course, subject, and location.

On a final note, our office manager Stuart is on holiday this week, hoping to spend some quality time with his cat Maude! While he enjoys the (mostly) sunny weather I shall be manning the fort, and responding to all your enquiries.

That’s all the Linking London news for now, more next Monday from me and the team.

THE LAST WEEK AT EGMONT HOUSE

Hello readers!

This week is the last we will be spending in Egmont House – the end of an era. Several rather large crates have appeared in the office, ready to transport our resources (and all important coffee stash) over to our new home in Tavistock Square.

Our NNCO evaluation has been completed and submitted to our external evaluators – London Metropolitan University and Sheffield Hallam University.  Emily, our NNCO officer, has been planning events for the autumn term alongside our Deputy Director Andrew, including more of the popular subject specific events. An end of project NNCO event will be held this December to celebrate its success.

I have been sending out multitudes of invitations to our partners and colleagues for the upcoming 10 year Linking London anniversary at Senate House! The RSVPs are rolling in, and the event is now only 2 months away (September 15th).

ANNIVERSARY INVITE

ANNIVERSARY INVITE

I have also been getting to grips with our EMSI Labour Market Information ‘Analyst’ tool. Our board requested a list of sample questions to illustrate how the data can be utilised, which I hope to have ready for partners shortly. In future we hope partners will pose questions for us to answer through the use of this detailed software.

Andrew has been continuing work on his Nursing, Midwifery& Allied Health Professions guide, and would like to thank Greenwich and Middlesex universities for their supporting comments for the publication.

HECAIL continues to be populated by us all, and we hope to publish a plethora of new content on the site shortly, included pieces on MOOCS, LMI, HE in FE, and Sandwich Degrees.

On a final note we are all incredibly jealous of our Director Sue this week, who has sent us these pictures of her Ireland holiday.

SUE'S IRELAND HOLIDAY

SUE’S IRELAND HOLIDAY

SUE'S IRELAND HOLIDAY

SUE’S IRELAND HOLIDAY

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

That’s it for this week; the next blog post will be from our new Tavistock Square offices.

THE RATHER BUSY FORTNIGHT

Hello!

Eagle-eyed readers may have noticed there was no post last week – this is not because we were sunning ourselves in the south of France (although Andrew did recently visit Disneyland), but due to our jam-packed schedule at the end of this academic year!

Week  starting 27th June

The deadline for HEFCE’s NCOP arrived on Friday, and we are happy to announce that our collaborative proposal (with Access HE and Aim Higher London South) has been  officially submitted. We will hear if our bid is successful the day before our ten year celebration, so fingers crossed!

While most of our energies were focused on meeting the NCOP deadline, we found time for other sector business too; our Director Sue also attended the final HIVE PED seminar on Wednesday 29th, which was hosted by our partners Kings College London. Emily was also out and about, and attended the Goldsmiths Adviser Conference on July 1st, alongside HE in London’s Camilla

GOLDSMITHS

Goldsmiths

GOLDSMITHS

Goldsmiths

HIVE PED

HIVE PED

HIVE PED

HIVE PED

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Week starting 4th July

Suspending our disbelief that July is ALREADY here (where did the time go?) we attended a plethora of events – both internal and external.

Our NNCO Steering group early in the week was swiftly followed by our final Board Meeting of the year. Board members discussed partner membership and plans for the future, and were treated to party food and drinks afterwards to celebrate another successful year!

On Monday, Andrew (Deputy Director) attended a joint event held by our colleagues at HESA and Wonkhe entitled ‘building a future for graduate destinations’ . On the same day Sue attended unionlearn’s conference at Congress house – like us unionlearn are now celebrating their tenth anniversary.

UNIONLEARN

unionlearn

 

unionlearn

unionlearn

Wednesday saw the end of an era as the principal of our partner college City and Islington held a celebration for his retirement. Sue celebrated with Sir Frank McLoughlin, and we wish him, and the college, all the best for the future.

This week has closed with two final events (yes more events! I told you we were busy). Andrew and Sue attended the launch of the latest London Councils report : ‘The HE Journey of Young Londoners’, and Emily was at the London Ambitions event on Friday, which examined different approaches to mapping the curriculum.

London Councils

London Councils

On a final note, as predicted, I lost our Euro 2016 sweepstake. Emily (Portugal) defeated Office Manager Stuart (France) to steal his Linking London Champion’s crown!  I always prefered tennis anyway…

More updates next week!

THE WEEK OF THE REFERENDUM

As I write this the votes have been counted and the internet is abuzz with reactions to the EU Referendum. Now that the UK’s exit from the EU is inevitable, the Education Sector has to ask itself: where do we go from here?

The result may not be what London voted for, but the capital has been outvoted by its country. Linking London has collated the reactions of partner institutions, the educational press, and other significant sector institutions, so that readers can follow the ongoing HE and FE discussion, as we all forge a path forward in the wake of the result.

University Responses:

The Russell Group

http://www.russellgroup.ac.uk/news/eu-referendum-result/

UCL

https://www.ucl.ac.uk/news/news-articles/0616/240616-uk-vote-to-leave-eu-ucl-statement/

King’s College London

http://www.kcl.ac.uk/newsevents/news/newsrecords/2016/06%20June/EU-Referendum-result.aspx

Birkbeck University of London

http://www.bbk.ac.uk/news/birkbeck-and-the-eu

Central School of Speech and Drama

http://www.cssd.ac.uk/news/response-result-eu-referendum

Goldsmiths

http://www.gold.ac.uk/news/referendum-announcement/

 

Media Responses

Wonkhe – live blog

http://wonkhe.com/blogs/live-britain-votes-to-leave-the-eu/

Wonkhe – The morning after the referendum the night before

http://wonkhe.com/blogs/comment-the-morning-after-the-referendum-the-night-before/

THE – Brexit vote sparks huge uncertainty for UK universities

https://www.timeshighereducation.com/news/brexit-vote-sparks-huge-uncertainty-uk-universities

The Telegraph – EU referendum: How the results compare to the UK’s educated, old and immigrant populations

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/06/24/eu-referendum-how-the-results-compare-to-the-uks-educated-old-an/

The Independent – EU referendum: Half of top UK graduate employers will cut recruitment in case of Brexit result

http://www.independent.co.uk/student/career-planning/eu-referendum-brexit-leave-remain-graduate-employment-job-recruitment-cut-a7097311.html

The Independent – Academics fear new Brexit – a brain exit – after referendum vote

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/brain-drain-brexit-universities-science-academics-referendum-eu-a7100266.html

Moving On Magazine – With the UK having voted to leave the EU, how will Brexit affect apprenticeships?

http://movingonmagazine.co.uk/how-will-brexit-affect-apprenticeships/

TES – Don’t let Brexit delay the apprenticeship levy, warns the AELP

https://www.tes.com/news/further-education/breaking-news/dont-let-brexit-delay-apprenticeship-levy-warns-aelp

FE News – How will Brexit affect the FE sector?

http://www.fenews.co.uk/featured-article/how-will-brexit-affect-the-fe-sector-the-sector-responds-to-the-news-12209

 

Organisation Responses

Universities UK statement on the outcome of the EU referendum

http://www.universitiesuk.ac.uk/news/Pages/statement-on-eu-referendum-outcome.aspx

NUS responds to EU Referendum result

http://www.nus.org.uk/en/news/eu-referendum-nus-responds-to-brexit/?load=6&top=275

AoC response to EU referendum result

https://www.aoc.co.uk/news/aoc-response-eu-referendum-result

THE WEEK LINKING LONDON HAD GOOD NEWS AND SUMMER RAIN

Hello readers!

Apparently this week marks the start of the British Summer, but nobody appears to have notified the weather of this. Hopefully the past week has been a productive one for you, and you haven’t spent it hunched beneath your brollies!

Last Tuesday was our final HE in FE Practitioner Group Meeting of the year, and boasted a rather full agenda! For many months our partners have requested a presentation on Consumer Law within the Education sector, particularly in reference to the latest CMA publication. In our last session of the term we hosted Eversheds International Law Firm, who gave an informative and enlightening presentation on the legal matters at hand for the FE sector.  We also had presentations from our colleagues at HEFCE, and the AoC, and we provided an update on our HE in FE mapping project.

Sue (our Director) and Andrew (our Deputy Director) visited Haringey Sixth Form College, who, we are very pleased to announce, have asked to join our network. Sue also met with Yolande Burgess to discuss the past successful year of engagement with London Councils, and how to build upon this promising relationship in the following year.

Our work with HE in London continues, with last week featuring operational and management meetings, attended by both Sue and Emily (Linking London NNCO Officer). Although the funding for this finishes this year, we were keen to discuss ways of sustaining the successful project.

The NCOP Proposal deadline grows nearer by the day, and our bid writing group continue to hone our London Networks bid, ready for the 1st of July. Our summarised proposal and letters of support were sent to partners last Thursday.

On a final note, our Twitter following has officially doubled since the new year – thank you to all who follow us for daily news and updates. You will be pleased to hear baked goods were eaten in celebration.

Please subscribe to this blog by clicking ‘follow’ to receive email updates, and more news from the network will be posted next Monday. Have a great week!