Changes to vocational qualifications announced
AL has condemned the cull of vocational qualifications from school league tables.
More than 3,000 vocational qualifications regarded as equivalent to GCSEs in current league tables will be reduced to 125, with just 70 counting towards the main performance measure of five A* to C grades. The changes result from Professor Alison Wolf’s review of vocational education, and will impact 14-16 performance tables from 2014 onwards.
Ann Watson, Managing Director of EAL, the specialist awarding organisation for industry qualifications, said: “The headlines made by this announcement are a huge blow to public perceptions of the vocational route – and it is naïve to think the damage will be limited to those qualifications that will be absent from future league tables.
“Clearly, there is a need to provide young people with qualifications that open up opportunities for work and further study, and to ensure a sensible approach to equivalence between vocational qualifications and GCSEs. Unfortunately, the result of this cull will be to downgrade vocational qualifications en masse in the eyes of many young people and their parents. Government must take responsibility for reassuring learners already enrolled on vocational qualifications or those that are thinking of taking this pathway. “It is a grave concern that qualifications like Performing Engineering Operations are suddenly less attractive for schools, because the government’s criteria deem them unfit for performance tables; this despite the great potential they offer for pupils to develop an interest in practical learning, secure jobs and progress in their learning to Advanced and Higher Apprenticeships.
“Vocational qualifications such as these are trusted by industry employers to provide vital skills for the workplace. We urge schools to look beyond the performance measures to assess their value for pupils.”
Portakabin one of Britain’s ‘brightest businesses’
ortakabin has been listed as one of Britain’s Brightest Businesses in the Telegraph 1000. In the survey 1000 privately-owned and Alternative Investment Market-listed companies were identified as having shown strong resilience during the recession in sectors as diverse as farming, IT, retail, professional services and construction - with sales of between £5m and £500m.
“We are absolutely delighted to receive another independently verified endorsement of our business”, comments Robert Snook, director and general manager of Portakabin Hire.
“Being identified as a star performer in the UK economy demonstrates the strength of our business, giving customers and suppliers even greater confidence and peace of mind when working with Portakabin – and at a time when so many companies are struggling to maintain financial stability and performance.”
Key to the success of Portakabin has been its unrivalled track record of delivering buildings for both interim and permanent use. Over the past eight years it has delivered 99.7% of projects on programme and on cost.
u0845 401 0010 uwww.portanews.co.uk
British Educational Suppliers Association (BESA)
When a chair is not just ‘a chair’
ay Barker, Director of the British Educational Suppliers Association (BESA) looks at the importance of spending on the right furniture. For many schools faced with the prospect of purchasing their first new furniture for years, the problem is lack of experience and advice on what to buy. As heads scan educational furniture catalogues they looked at prices that did not compare with the high street and unfortunately a proportion decided to buy ‘cheap’. They purchased household quality furniture, for as little as a third of the price of equivalent educational products and thought they had a good deal.
Educational furniture manufacturers however, will tell you that the school environment is about the most hostile imaginable for a chair or table. Furniture members of the British Educational Suppliers Association (BESA) will normally manufacture to the European educational furniture standards educational EN1729 which recognise the importance of both ergonomic excellence and durability in use. BESA members have been at the forefront of the development of new products to match this standard – delivering products which support improved lifelong back care for our children, better academic outcomes through comfort which leads to improved concentration and outstanding value for money through product durability and life cycle
At BESA, our recent ‘Resources in English Maintained Schools’ research (January 2012) shows that schools are still investing in furniture, and hopefully adhering to the EN1729 Standard, with an estimated £78m spending across 2012/13.
When you are looking for furniture, please visit www.besa.org.uk
for details of the standards you should buy to and the companies to buy from (all BESA members must annually sign up to abide by the BESA Code of Practice).
British Educational Suppliers Association (BESA) Tel: +44 (0) 20 7537 4997 Fax: +44 (0) 20 7537 4846 Web: www.besa.org.uk www.besa.org.uk/twitter
February 2012 www.education-today.co.uk
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