£7bn 363 colleges 4.2m learners 263,257 staff

Yackety Yack won’t come back

The Ipsos Mori report has useful insights into how NEETs think – which is

the consistent theme …  that they can’t think of anything useful they’re good at. This contrasts starkly with young people who underpin their aspirations with personality traits that suggest they will be able to make a positive success of them. Something positive about them has stood out to the adults in their lives, and this gives them the confidence to make firm plans about their future

“I want to be a youth worker .. they told me I was really good at taking charge of groups and stuff and I’d be really good at it
[college student]

“wherever you’re gonna work, your not gonna like it … who wants to go to work – no-one”
[current NEET age 18]

Teachers aren’t about themselves, they are about other people.

Teaching isn’t about how the students feel about me, it is about how  I can make them feel about themselves.


February 11, 2010 Posted by | attitudes, teachers, young people | , , , , | Leave a comment

Yackety Yack

Ipsos Mori are due to produce the latest Learner Satisfaction Survey in spring 2010, based on learners’ experience of college 2009.

Learners in colleges don’t come into the sector as newbies – they have a lot of education experience behind them – and Ipsos Mori have already surveyed 2387 of them in 2008. 11-16 then, they are now 13-18, so their views will form the core of the 2009 college survey.

They were asked about the ways they prefer to learn, and what they do most often in class.

Continue reading

February 10, 2010 Posted by | attitudes, teachers, young people | , , | Leave a comment

EMA cocks your snook?

I know what I think about EMAs but I wasn’t not sure what students think about them, so went to The Student Room where students say what they think, to find out.


An interesting mix of lofty learning eg Poor Law Amendment Act

“Can anyone tell me where I am perhaps going wrong, or recommend any websites or books for me to read?

Any other help would also be much appreciated.

Ill rep the most helpful and all that

If I could, I’d help out – so that I could get “repped and all that”

And there is much more like

“found boyfriend’s profile on a dating website”

and of course “Revision Notes” which would be helpful for eg Performing Arts students doing an assignment on , say, 19th Century Theatre

and what do students think about EMA?

Continue reading

February 8, 2010 Posted by | attitudes, young people | , | Leave a comment

It’s only EMA Emotion

Interesting to keep an eye on austerity sur le continent

Teachers in Greece are going on strike thrice in the next month as Greece’s austerity programme begins [wage freeze for public sector workers  for starters]

In almost-neighbouring Romania the austerity package includes sacking 15,000 teachers, and  Gavin Hewitt [him off the telly] points out that there are four times as many teachers per student in Greece as in Finland, so ………

Finland and Sweden are the model for much current thinking on reshaping education after the 6 May election

And there is also a great deal of eyeing up of previously sacred cows.

There is, for example, some scepticism about the value of  Educational Maintenance Allowances [shadow children’s secretary Michael Gove has called the EMA a flop],  although EMAs do have  solid research evidence of their effectiveness.

In colleges, EMAs seem to work, but  “How to Save £50bn” has an uncomfortable analysis of EMA

Chart 2.1 shows that while there has been an increase in the percentage of 16-18 year olds in education or training since the EMA was launched, from 75.7 per cent in 2004 to 79.7 per cent in 2008, this is negligible … also a decrease in 16-18 year olds in employment, from 14.7 per cent to 10.0 per cent.

… NEETs increased from 9.6  to 10.3 per  between 2004 and 2008.
These are poor results, and show that EMA is not a good use of money.

  • Abolishing EMA would save £530,000,000 a year.
  • Are the figures in Chart 2.1 valid?

and then

  • Is EMA a “front line service” or is it a back office function, and therefore saveable?
  • Any savings from scrapping EMA would be small beer when set against the £175bn deficit – but every little helps.
  • Taking a bolder line,  could the [complicated and rigorous but existing] EMA system be harnessed as a participation-led college funding system. Young people cash in their course credit, and continue to get a cash back EMA  in return for attendance and achievement ?

February 4, 2010 Posted by | austerity funding | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Beware teachers called Callum or Chelsea

If HEFCE’s challenging financial settlement for HE next year is anything to go by, we will have to get very good indeed at picking students who are the best, most persistent, the least likely to drop out.

And of course there is a way of doing it easily – just look at their first name.

A survey of 3000 teachers came up with the student names to look out for

Continue reading

February 2, 2010 Posted by | further education, list, teachers | , , , , | Leave a comment

Goodbye, PowerPoint!

Maybe not the end of PowerPoint, but Prezi offers something the same, but very different [ and it’s FREE, folks]

I have produced some pretty dire PowerPoints in my time.

  • Far too many bullet points
  • sometimes with very odd bullets
  • and a relentless plodding on from A to B to C to D to E to F to G and back to D then on to H ….
    • and nested lists
      • getting smaller and more bunched up all the time
  • and all kinds of distracting pictures

Continue reading

February 1, 2010 Posted by | info tech | , , | Leave a comment

No thanks, Carol Volderman

I was desparate for a bricklayer in the summer term, when they are all on site, so I grabbed “Peter” when the agency sent him along. It wasn’t till Week 2 that it hit us.

All the problems that we had came down to the fact that he couldn’t read or write.

Goodbye Peter.

But Kinsey was right – we do need to attract the brightest 10% into teaching if we are to have good education; and

Michael Gove [Conservative – party political warning!] was also right – we shouldn’t pay to train people with third class degrees as teachers.

So how would that work for me in vocational education?

and for poor old Carol Volderman?

Sorry Carol but I am after someone who is better qualified. Can I keep you on our file? Click to enlarge.

Continue reading

January 29, 2010 Posted by | teachers | , , , | Leave a comment

Fewer young people until 2019

I have been looking at the decline in numbers of young people at national and regional level, and the first data which popped up when I googled for local authority numbers was for Gloucestershire.
When I take the pupil numbers, and roll them forward to 2019, Gloucestershire mirrors the steady decline seen at national and regional level.

My projection for Young People in Gloucestershire 2009 to 2019. Source data and graph also from File Box in side bar

By 2014, there will be 10% fewer 15 year olds to feed into further education colleges at 16, and the numbers keep going down to an 18% drop by 2018.
This is a challenge which is every bit as real as the coming funding challenge.

January 14, 2010 Posted by | Numbers of young people | , , | Leave a comment

What Colleges need to do about the Power Gap

People feel powerless when they have little control over the direction of their own lives, or the power to shape the society in which they live – and we see this in how people talk about bankers or MPs expenses. We feel powerless when we compare our own position to bankers who appear to have the power to award themselves high pay, to burden us all with the huge cost of rescuing them when they fail, and to reward themselves while we bear the consequences of financial deficits – and we have no control or voice to shape events.

But the issue is not really about the power of the rich and lucky – it is really about boosting the powerfulness, the resourcefulness, of most people. All three parties now seem to “get it” and talk of “giving power away”, of empowering people, of devolving decision making to a local people.

And if education is to play its part in increasing power, then we need to have a good mental map of where the powerful and the powerless are, and what we need to do to increase the power of young people and adults.

Continue reading

January 11, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment

16-19s at a peak this year, and will now decline steadily

It is never easy to get figures for the numbers of young people, but here are two snapshots from the Office for National Statistics [and with my thanks to Tom Morrison, Regional Observatory Manager, East of England Development Agency for his help with navigation]

17 yr olds in England to 2019. Source data and graph from the File Box in sidebar

First : the number of young people was at a peak in 2009, and will fall steadily in every year starting from 2010 until 2019.

Second: the number of young people year by year across England and Wales will fall by 15% over the next 10 years.

Year 17 year olds In England & Wales, a 15% drop in the number of 17 year olds by the end of the period.
By 2013, the drop will have been 8%
2009 706,500
2011 672,900
2013 655,100
2015 642,400
2017 625,300 Data from Office for National Statistics http://www.statistics.gov.uk
2019 600,900

Then, looking only at English Regions, the nearest useful figures are for the 15-19 age group.

Young People in English Regions to 2019. Source data in File Box in sidebar

Region 2009 2011 2013 2015 2017 2019 drop 2009-2019
East 357.6 352.2 348.3 341.2 331.9 332.4 7%
London 427.1 414.5 406.8 398.3 388.7 395.7 7%
South East 541.8 527.9 517.0 506.1 491.0 489.2 10%
South West 335.0 326.9 322.4 316.3 305.6 302.4 10%
England 3298.4 3195.0 3117.9 3038.7 2935.6 2928.7 11%
East Midlands 295.5 285.9 278.6 271.5 262.8 261.6 11%
West Midlands 358.2 344.5 336.4 328.1 315.7 314.3 12%
Yorks and Humber 352.2 341.0 330.8 320.3 307.6 305.9 13%
North West 461.9 440.0 422.3 408.1 391.0 387.6 16%
North East 169.0 162.1 155.2 148.8 141.3 139.6 17
Data: Office for National Statistics: 2006-based subnational population projections

Third: Over England as a whole, there will be 11% fewer 15-19s

Fourth: Even in London, there will be a steady drop in the number of young people, though at 7% it is less than the all-England figure of 11%.
Across the North, the drop is greater than 15%.

A glib, facile and superficial response to the figures would be that a major smart cut is now easy to imagine, and we can feed a projected 15% reduced spend in the FE budget  into the savings which will help reduce the national financial deficit.

January 7, 2010 Posted by | Numbers of young people | , , | Leave a comment