Articles from Roger Francis

2.22 is the number that could change vocational training forever

Government publications rarely contain information of any great significance but the latest Apprenticeship Plan "English Apprenticeships: Our 2020 Vision" is an exception and one particular clause, 2.22, is likely to trigger the biggest upheaval in vocational training in the last 50 years. Here is the clause in full:

The Apprenticeship levy – BIS provides clarification

A few days ago I wrote an article about the forthcoming Apprenticeship Levy scheme. My interpretation of the information contained within the latest joint BIS/Department of Education briefing document "English Apprenticeships: Our 2020 Vision" was that all businesses in the UK would pay the levy but that companies with a wage bill of £3m or less would receive a graduated rebate in the form of an "allowance" paid into their digital Apprenticeship Account.

Sub-Contracting – A Response

I feel I must respond to Matt Garvey’s recent article about sub-contracting. Matt and I clearly have very different views about many things and I respect his opinions. It would be a strange world if everyone in the FE sector agreed about everything. I’m therefore saddened that not only has Matt chosen to personalise his piece but has included information which is palpably untrue.

Goodbye Sub-Contracting, Hello Partnerships

Sub-contracting is an issue which raises strong emotions in the sector and has been the subject of passionate debate both in FE News and elsewhere.  Supporters claim passionately that sub-contracting has been a valuable process which has enabled small providers to gain access to funding without being weighed down by an administrative burden.

Provider Funding Cuts – The Story Continues

Last week I wrote an article challenging the so-called cuts in Apprenticeship funding for providers and suggesting that from next April we need to adopt a very different mindset when it comes to funding. The article was meant to stimulate a debate and I am therefore delighted that it has done just that. I would however like to take issue with some of the specific points which were made by those people who believe that these funding changes will have a devastating impact on 16-18 year olds in deprived areas. I should add that my comments refer to Levy-paying employers because as yet, we do not have sufficient information to understand how the non-Levy payers system will work.

Provider Funding Cuts – They Are Dead Parrots. Welcome To The New World

The headlines over the last few weeks have all been about huge cuts in Apprenticeship Funding. Of course, they could equally have read “Huge Increases in Apprenticeship Funding” but then I suppose there wouldn’t have been a story. The sector has rightly been begging different governments for years to simplify the horribly complex funding regulations.  But when for once they actually listen and take advantage of the Apprenticeship Reforms to introduce a standard rate regardless of age, area or any other factor, the news is greeted with shock and horror and wild tales of potentially devastating effects on disadvantaged learners in inner cities.

Functional Skills Funding – The Achilles’ Heel Of The Apprenticeship Reforms?

It seems that hardly a day goes by at the moment without the release of another publication which confirms the huge basic skills crisis which exists in the UK. In that context, the latest report from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation which highlights the relationship between a lack of basic literacy and numeracy skills and poverty and under-achievement in young people, makes sobering reading.

When does a crisis become an emergency?

The existence of a skills "gap" has been recognised in the UK for nearly 30 years and arguably dates back to the education cuts imposed by the Thatcher government in the 1980's. Later, the extent of the issue was recognised when the word "gap" was regularly replaced by "problem" and more recently I and many other people have used the word "crisis" which we feel more appropriately highlights the extent of the "problem".

Recognition – the case for grading Apprenticeships

A few days ago, we learned that our company, Creative Learning Partners, had been short-listed in no less than 4 different categories (including Training Provider Of The Year) at the forthcoming TES FE Awards for 2016.

Time to end SFA sub-contracting

The manner by which the Skills Funding Agency (SFA) distributes government cash to training providers, has long been the subject of debate and criticism.

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