Study programmes

Study programmes

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Study programmes have had more than a year to bed down now and so it’s a fair time to reflect on what effect they’re having on the FE and skills sector.

While a work experience element is included in the study programme ‘package,’ the most notable component is that of the requirement for learners to achieve English and maths qualifications.

A huge leap in the amount of teaching was always going to be required with providers’ funding dependent on this provision where a learner has not achieved his or her GCSE grade C in the subjects.

And so efforts to meet this demand are covered in our first news item on the page opposite, where there is an update from the Education Funding Agency on its review of planned hours, announced nearly five months ago.

On page 4 there is a more in-depth explanation of study programmes, before the architect of the system herself, Professor Alison Wolf, outlines her view of their progress.

North Warwickshire and Hinckley College and South Leicestershire College principal Marion Plant and National Hairdressers’ Federation chief executive Hilary Hall discuss the impact of study programmes on page 5, before the Ofsted review of last month is covered on the following page.

An exclusive Q&A session with Skills Minister Nick Boles just months into his ministerial tenure features on page 7.

The learner view of study programmes from National Union of Students president Toni Pearce is on page 10, along with an explanation of how the maths element is being handled by providers from Steve McCormack, communications manager at the National Centre for Excellence in the Teaching of Mathematics (NCETM).

With such a monumental change in education policy, where funding shifted from per-qualification to per-learner, there were bound to be knock-on effects — or unintended consequences. These are the focus of page 11.

An exclusive FE Week survey shows how the sector is coping ‘on the ground’ with study programmes, and the results feature on pages 12, 13 and 14, before the work experience element of the system is discussed on page 15 by Fairtrain chief executive Beth Gardner and UK Commission for Employment and Skills senior manager David Massey.