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OVERVIEW OF 14-19 QUALIFICATIONS AND CURRICULUM STRATEGY Geoff Stanton UCU 14-19 SEMINAR 2nd December 2008.

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Presentation on theme: "OVERVIEW OF 14-19 QUALIFICATIONS AND CURRICULUM STRATEGY Geoff Stanton UCU 14-19 SEMINAR 2nd December 2008."— Presentation transcript:

1 OVERVIEW OF QUALIFICATIONS AND CURRICULUM STRATEGY Geoff Stanton UCU SEMINAR 2nd December 2008

2 Overview Section 1 : some background – the controversial bit Section 2: a summary of the updated strategy Section 3: a critique of the strategy Section 4: further reading (homework?)

3 My thesis about the situation in England (or putting my cards on the table) There is a qualifications strategy, but it is not comprehensive There is not a curriculum strategy The curriculum should not be seen just as the means of delivering qualifications; some of the qualifications development should be curriculum-led. This means focussing on how best to promote learning rather than how best to assess its results – Compare the resources that have been put into The assessment of learning, as opposed to assessment for learning. Identifying employer and HE requirements, as opposed to identifying learner needs, motivations and characteristics. We continue to neglect the needs of that half of the population who do not achieve five “good” GCSEs by the arbitrary age of 16, regarding this as an aberration. We have not learned from the problems and successes of past initiatives, and continue to use flawed approaches to curriculum and qualifications development. So learning matters, for participants and policy-makers.

4 Some uncomfortable facts for practitioners Lower achievers are less likely to stay on (anywhere) if their school has a sixth form. The average sixth form is less socially inclusive than the average university. Small sixth forms usually under-perform year olds often think that vocational programmes are more educational than we do. We have failed to provide a level 2 general education programme designed for year olds. In colleges those with the greater learning needs are taught for fewer hours than more successful students – an example of the “inverse care law”.

5 Social class composition of institutions “WP” = resident in a postcode targeted for widening participation National average in WP postcodes = 25% % in SFCs = 25 % in GFEs = 29 % in school sixth forms = 19 % in Universities = 20 So sixth forms are less inclusive than universities (Source: the Foster Review of FE)

6 Schools with and without sixth forms

7 Some uncomfortable facts for policy makers The overall participation rates for year olds did not go up between 1994 and – Though there has been a shift from work-based learning to full-time provision. – This is despite a range of initiatives, many of them attempts at qualifications reform. Almost all recent government-led initiatives relating to qualifications and testing have gone wrong in similar ways, and required urgent and unplanned revision within a few years.

8 The figures on participation

9 Charting the history: every government initiated assessment-led reform has required urgent, early and unplanned revision. InitiativeDate of Introduction Date of review National Curriculum /3, (Dearing) NVQs , (Beaumont) GNVQs , (Capey) Modern Apprenticeships (Cassels) Curriculum , (Tomlinson)

10 The updated strategy “An entitlement to the right learning opportunities and support for all young people aged 14-19” Key stage Four Four “learning routes” Information advice and guidance

11 Key stage Four All young people will study as part of the new secondary curriculum: - Key Stage 4 core curriculum: English, maths, science - Key Stage 4 foundation subjects: ICT, PE, Citizenship – Work-related learning and enterprise – Religious education – Sex, drug, alcohol and tobacco education and careers education - A course in at least one of the arts; design and technology; the humanities; modern foreign languages and all four if they wish to

12 The “four routes” Learning for young people will lead to qualifications from one of four routes: Apprenticeships – with an entitlement to a place by 2013 for all 16 year olds suitably qualified Diplomas – with an entitlement by 2013 for all year olds to the first 14 Diplomas and for year olds to all 17 Diplomas Foundation Learning Tier – with an entitlement by 2010 to study one of the progression Pathways General Qualifications, e.g. GCSEs and A levels Young people will be able to study qualifications that do not fall under these four routes where there is a clear rationale to maintain them in learners’ interests and some young people will study informal unaccredited provision to re-engage them. Throughout the curriculum and qualifications routes there will be Functional skills in English, maths and ICT and personal, learning and thinking skills

13 “The right support” There will be the right support, including: - Excellent Information, Advice and Guidance (IAG) and support to make the right choices at 14 and 16 - A Prospectus in every area setting out the courses and support available - A Common Application Process linked to the Prospectus that makes it easier to apply for education and training - The September Guarantee to ensure all 16 and 17 year olds have an offer of a suitable place in learning and targeted supported to those who need it most

14 Some key quotes from “Delivering Reform: Next Steps”, DCSF, October 2008 “In future, all publicly funded qualifications will fall within one of four routes – Apprenticeships, Diplomas, the Foundation Learning Tier, or General Qualifications (GCSEs and A levels)” But there is a caveat.... “unless there is clear evidence of a need to maintain specific qualifications outside these routes in the interests of learners.” The body that will determine this is to be called JACQA “we have asked QCA and the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) to establish a Joint Advisory Committee of Qualifications Approvals (JACQA) to provide advice to the Secretary of State on public funding of qualifications” There will also be exceptions for hard cases “Some young people will participate in informal non-accredited learning, to get them back on the path to success through one of these routes.”

15 But the feasibility of all this depends on the validity of the following assertion.... “These four routes will be broad programmes of learning which give young people the opportunity to combine qualifications and tailor their learning programmes to meet their specific demands. At the same time, there will be flexibility and progression within and between routes to respond to individual needs.”

16 A lot depends on the new Diplomas (remember that the FLT does not apply at level 2 and above) The “Gateway” process was a good idea – though were all the criteria? Some new flexibilities have been introduced – The additional and specialist learning does not have to be at the same level as the rest – Partial achievement will be recorded – Retakes of units may be possible But even so, are Diplomas as flexible as A/AS programmes? – Perm any 3 or 5 from 40 – Credit for AS level achievement Two particular concerns: – Do Diplomas provide for all legitimate needs that exist in the “gap” between GCSEs/A level and apprenticeships? – Has the design focussed on level 3 at the expense of level 2?

17 A gap between Diplomas and Apprenticeships? There will be post-16 learners who want a learning programme that is as strongly vocational as apprenticeships but who – are not yet ready for the workplace, – need to “taste” before they can decide on an occupation – cannot get access to an apprenticeship In their locality In their preferred sector At the right level (especially level 3) In a recession. There are already increasingly popular and successful programmes that meet these needs. The “additional and specialist learning slot” within the Diplomas does not meet these needs because – It is a minnow compared to the mandatory Principal Learning whale – It is not mandatory on providers to make ASL strongly vocational

18 The issue of level 2 Almost all the public debate has focussed on level 3 Diplomas, though all year olds and most year olds will be studying below this level. Is the same structure and approach appropriate for level 2 for year olds, as opposed to level 2 for year olds? Is the content of all diplomas appropriate for those learners who have found GCSE programmes uncongenial? Is it right to make the Advanced Diplomas equivalent to “7 GCSEs at grades A* – C” ?

19 Assessment regimes Must not be too time consuming Must not be too expensive Must balance validity and reliability Must take account of the availability of expertise Must serve participants as well as end-users Must not be asked to do too much – not all that is important can be measured, not all that can be measured is important. – Other means should be used to ensure institutional acountability Need time to settle in.

20 The development process in diagrammatic form – actual and effective

21 Lay a broad base before specialising? The academic approach? The vocational approach?

22 The importance of teacher involvement in curriculum and qualifications development Experience of the characteristics of the learner and what motivates them. Aware of the compound effect of several initiatives on the learner experience. The first to be aware of problems. Therefore, there needs to be a “fast response” feedback mechanism to protect learner interests.

23 “We will learn lessons from early delivery” “We will continue to work with the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) and other stakeholders in the HE sector, to ensure that the Diploma meets the needs of both students and HE institutions. Good engagement is already happening across the country. For example, the DDP for Society, Health and Development (SHD) is working in a structured way with Higher Education providers such as the Higher York Consortium to map progression routes for students taking the SHD Diploma.” “We have also commissioned an independent evaluation of the implementation of the Diploma that has now started and will run to The evaluation will provide valuable feedback from young people, teachers, tutors, parents, employers and HE on the effectiveness and value for money of different delivery approaches.”

24 Learning Matters Making the reforms work for learners: by emphasising learning programmes, as well as qualifications; By learning from previous initiatives. Geoff Stanton aspx?page=393


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