As usual this week has been a busy one for the Linking London team. We are thrilled to (quietly) announce that our joint NCOP bid with Access HE and Aimhigher London South has been successful. This means that together we will run one of the new HEFCE funded National Collaborative Outreach Programmes, starting in January next year. Following this good news we met with our neighbouring networks on Monday to discuss more detailed plans for the project.
On Tuesday we held our first IAG Practitioner event of the academic year, which featured speakers from CLC, Goldsmiths University of London, and the Student Loans Company. The event was extremely well attended (there were barely enough seats) and discussions included modes of outreach, degree apprenticeships and unconditional offers.
Wednesday was the date of the ‘Evaluation of the National Networks for Collaborative Outreach (NNCOs)’, which was held by London Metropolitan University. Emily, our NNCO Project Officer, described the key points raised at the event upon her return:
“Overall all networks have had the focus of working in partnership collaboratively to help learners find out about HE and progress. As a result better relationships have been forged, learners and advisers have had their understanding and knowledge enhanced, and engagement has increased. The additional money from HECFE has enabled lots of innovative activities to take place.”
On Thursday Andrew (Deputy Director) met up with Birkbeck’s Caroline McDonald (Head of Widening Access and Retention) to discuss the university’s work with BTEC learners and their innovative Birkbeck Skills Programme.
On a final note we have been sending out even more copies of Andrew’s Studying Nursing, Midwifery and Allied Health Professions guide for Access learners this week. Any Linking London partners who would like copies of the guide should contact our team as soon as possible (firstname.lastname@example.org) – they are proving rather popular!
More from myself and the team next week.
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.
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!