Tom Talks To Phil Beach and Paul Eeles

This week for Skills World, Tom Bewick is joined by Phil Beach CBE, Executive Director for Vocational and Technical Qualifications, Ofqual and Paul Eeles, Chief Executive, Skills & Education Group, to discuss, Qualifications, EQA and T Levels. 

What does public confidence in qualifications mean for you?

Phil: As a regulator it is one of our statutory objectives. We are required to maintain public confidence in qualifications. For us it's really straight forward.

It’s that the public, or any users of qualifications whether it be University, employers or indeed the students themselves, have absolute confidence that the certificate that they hold in their hand is testament to what they have actually achieved in an assessment or an examination.

Our work is all about making sure that those users of the qualifications have that confidence.

Paul: I absolutely agree with Phil’s point, I think in terms of us providing qualifications, that learners, employers, parents, whoever they are, have confidence in the qualifications that they have.

It’s absolutely critically important and it drives everything that we do, as a regulated awarding organisation, whether it’s our regulated qualifications, or our non-regulated qualifications.

 

Qualifications as Currency


This week for Skills World, Tom Bewick is joined by Phil Beach CBE, Executive Director for Vocational and Technical Qualifications, Ofqual and Paul Eeles, Chief Executive, Skills & Education Group, to discuss, Qualifications, EQA and T-Levels.

Is same level of currency expected from non-regulated qualifications as it is from regulated qualifications?

Paul: Qualifications are all about currency. A qualification is something that gives an individual that transportability to get new employment, to get onto other programmes of study to get higher levels. So, it as is important, whether it regulated or non-regulated.

Have we got too many qualifications?

Phil: I think from a regulatory perspective; our view would be that it’s a market.

Our powers as a regulator are about making sure that the quality of the qualifications is sufficient, and we have no real powers over the number of qualifications.

If there is a market for them, then that market will exist.

An analogy would be, for example, that in a supermarket we don't regulate the number of products on the supermarket shelves, what we do is to make sure that those that are on the shelf are of the right quality, and for me that's a market.

Paul: I’ve been in the FE and Skills sector for over 30 years, I’ve probably got 25 years senior management experience. Therefore, in terms of being aware of that debate, I think it’s been raging all the way through those 25 years.

To say we've got too many qualifications, on what measure are we doing that?

13,000 qualifications, I heard the Skills Minister quote recently, and that was too many.

I think it's a non-debate. As Phil said this is a market in which we operate.

Plenty of awarding organisations are developing their qualifications with a business case that supports a group of employers, or a group of learners and develop their qualifications around that.

They will rise, or fall, based on the market in which they work.

Again, it seems to be a strange debate to be having around the number qualifications. Have you got the right qualifications, have you got the right employer endorsements?

When the argument is put forward that there are too many qualifications, nobody says, “and by the way there’s a good few employers that are supporting every qualification, as it is developed.”

I couldn’t put anything through to Ofqual for approval if it didn’t have endorsement.

Do you think there's too much market choice in Apprenticeships? Or is this the same issue - not quantity, but quality?

Phil: Just back on the numbers aspect of that, I think for Apprenticeship end point assessments, there are a number of standards. 500 or so I think, by the time that we finish.

That just reflects the scope of the market, and the nature of the number apprenticeships that are required. So, I think that is a good indication of the sort of breadth of qualifications that we expect to be in the market. So, I don’t think that is THE number, rather than a right or a wrong number.

Do you agree that Ofqual should be the quality assurance body for Apprenticeship End Point Assessment?

Phil: Our view has been clearly expressed on a number of occasions, which is to say, where we are asked to be quality assurance for end point assessments, we will do that to the very best of our ability. And to exactly the same standards as you’d expect of the statutory regulator for qualifications.

But the Government has made the choice that there will be alternative choices, and that’s the landscape that we currently operate within.

Paul: There is absolutely a need for less confusion around EQA. I think that some of the issues and challenges that we feel that we’ve got, are that there is no overarching system, there’s no overarching standard by which End Point Assessment is being regulated.

I have an environment where, in England, I only have Ofqual for my qualifications. I could have, depending on how many Endpoint Assessment EPAOs I want to offer, I could have up to 35 different quality bodies regulating me, or more!

That is not to say that employers shouldn’t have a view, and professional bodies shouldn’t be involved in what quality assuring EPAO looks like. But one organisation needs to take the ring for that, and absolutely the FAB position being that would be best served with a regulator that has experience and knowledge in the assessment practice of awarding organisations, clearly should be where it’s at.

In a sentence, what is it going to take to make T Levels a success?

Paul: I think there needs to be a clearly joined up review of what it is that we’re doing, in terms of trying to achieve with T Levels. I don’t think I can answer it in a sentence, because actually it feels like we’ve got so many different questions to answer. But we need to be able to implement T Levels successfully, in a way that enables the market to interact with it, and to be able to deliver it in the colleges and providers around the country. I think we’ve still got a long way to go.

Phil: Patience and time. I think what you see for all successful qualifications is a brand that has been established over time.

Whether it’s A Levels, or GCSEs, that don’t look anything like they used to, but the brand has been established. I think it will take some time, but I think we need to be in for the long haul, and allow these things to bed in, settle and grow and not chop and change, so stick with it.

Phil Beach CBE, Executive Director for Vocational and Technical Qualifications, Ofqual and Paul Eeles, Chief Executive, Skills & Education Group, talking to Tom Bewick for this week's episode of Skills World.

Tom Bewick Newsroom Strap2

Despite best endeavours to ensure accuracy, text based on transcription may contain errors which could alter the intended meaning of any portion of the reported content. Speakers have not had the opportunity for any corrections.

Subscribe to the #SkillsWorld podcast series or visit the #SkillsWorld Newsroom on FE News to keep up to date with Tom's latest quest into the Skills World.

You may also be interested in these articles:

Register, Login or Login with your Social Media account:


Advertisers

Advertiser Skyscrapers

Video Advert

Latest Education News

Further Education News

The FE News Channel gives you the latest education news and updates on emerging education strategies and the #FutureofEducation and the #FutureofWork.

Providing trustworthy and positive Further Education news and views since 2003, we are a digital news channel with a mixture of written word articles, podcasts and videos. Our specialisation is providing you with a mixture of the latest education news, our stance is always positive, sector building and sharing different perspectives and views from thought leaders, to provide you with a think tank of new ideas and solutions to bring the education sector together and come up with new innovative solutions and ideas.

FE News publish exclusive peer to peer thought leadership articles from our feature writers, as well as user generated content across our network of over 3000 Newsrooms, offering multiple sources of the latest education news across the Education and Employability sectors.

FE News also broadcast live events, podcasts with leading experts and thought leaders, webinars, video interviews and Further Education news bulletins so you receive the latest developments in Skills News and across the Apprenticeship, Further Education and Employability sectors.

Every week FE News has over 200 articles and new pieces of content per week. We are a news channel providing the latest Further Education News, giving insight from multiple sources on the latest education policy developments, latest strategies, through to our thought leaders who provide blue sky thinking strategy, best practice and innovation to help look into the future developments for education and the future of work.

In May 2020, FE News had over 120,000 unique visitors according to Google Analytics and over 200 new pieces of news content every week, from thought leadership articles, to the latest education news via written word, podcasts, video to press releases from across the sector.

We thought it would be helpful to explain how we tier our latest education news content and how you can get involved and understand how you can read the latest daily Further Education news and how we structure our FE Week of content:

Main Features

Our main features are exclusive and are thought leadership articles and blue sky thinking with experts writing peer to peer news articles about the future of education and the future of work. The focus is solution led thought leadership, sharing best practice, innovation and emerging strategy. These are often articles about the future of education and the future of work, they often then create future education news articles. We limit our main features to a maximum of 20 per week, as they are often about new concepts and new thought processes. Our main features are also exclusive articles responding to the latest education news, maybe an insight from an expert into a policy announcement or response to an education think tank report or a white paper.

FE Voices

FE Voices was originally set up as a section on FE News to give a voice back to the sector. As we now have over 3,000 newsrooms and contributors, FE Voices are usually thought leadership articles, they don’t necessarily have to be exclusive, but usually are, they are slightly shorter than Main Features. FE Voices can include more mixed media with the Further Education News articles, such as embedded podcasts and videos. Our sector response articles asking for different comments and opinions to education policy announcements or responding to a report of white paper are usually held in the FE Voices section. If we have a live podcast in an evening or a radio show such as SkillsWorldLive radio show, the next morning we place the FE podcast recording in the FE Voices section.

Sector News

In sector news we have a blend of content from Press Releases, education resources, reports, education research, white papers from a range of contributors. We have a lot of positive education news articles from colleges, awarding organisations and Apprenticeship Training Providers, press releases from DfE to Think Tanks giving the overview of a report, through to helpful resources to help you with delivering education strategies to your learners and students.

Podcasts

We have a range of education podcasts on FE News, from hour long full production FE podcasts such as SkillsWorldLive in conjunction with the Federation of Awarding Bodies, to weekly podcasts from experts and thought leaders, providing advice and guidance to leaders. FE News also record podcasts at conferences and events, giving you one on one podcasts with education and skills experts on the latest strategies and developments.

We have over 150 education podcasts on FE News, ranging from EdTech podcasts with experts discussing Education 4.0 and how technology is complimenting and transforming education, to podcasts with experts discussing education research, the future of work, how to develop skills systems for jobs of the future to interviews with the Apprenticeship and Skills Minister.

We record our own exclusive FE News podcasts, work in conjunction with sector partners such as FAB to create weekly podcasts and daily education podcasts, through to working with sector leaders creating exclusive education news podcasts.

Education Video Interviews

FE News have over 700 FE Video interviews and have been recording education video interviews with experts for over 12 years. These are usually vox pop video interviews with experts across education and work, discussing blue sky thinking ideas and views about the future of education and work.

Events

FE News has a free events calendar to check out the latest conferences, webinars and events to keep up to date with the latest education news and strategies.

FE Newsrooms

The FE Newsroom is home to your content if you are a FE News contributor. It also help the audience develop relationship with either you as an individual or your organisation as they can click through and ‘box set’ consume all of your previous thought leadership articles, latest education news press releases, videos and education podcasts.

Do you want to contribute, share your ideas or vision or share a press release?

If you want to write a thought leadership article, share your ideas and vision for the future of education or the future of work, write a press release sharing the latest education news or contribute to a podcast, first of all you need to set up a FE Newsroom login (which is free): once the team have approved your newsroom (all content, newsrooms are all approved by a member of the FE News team- no robots are used in this process!), you can then start adding content (again all articles, videos and podcasts are all approved by the FE News editorial team before they go live on FE News). As all newsrooms and content are approved by the FE News team, there will be a slight delay on the team being able to review and approve content.

 RSS IconRSS Feed Selection Page