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14 – 19 Pathfinder Initiative Gets Third Evaluation Report

Jeremy Higham and David Yeomans from the Post-14 Research Group at the School of Education, University of Leeds, have released this year’s evaluation report on the 14-19 Pathfinder Initiative.

The report, entitled “Emerging Provision and Practice in 14-19 Education and Training: A Report on the Evaluation of the Third Year of the 14-19 Pathfinder Initiative”, clarifies, right from the start, that “the views expressed in this report are the authors” and do not necessarily reflect those of the Department for Education and Skills.” That safely out of the way, this report evaluates the 14-19 Pathfinders initiative, on a national level.

Finding the Findings

It describes and analyses the work undertaken by the thirty-nine pathfinders and two partnerships not funded through the initiative. It also focuses on the legacies, the key factors of working and the sustainability that the initiative has made. The report finds that in its third year, the initiative focused on the following features: a growing commitment to the concept of a coherent 14-19 phase and the identification and development of 14-19 progression routes; a continued commitment to substantial collaborative working, local strategic leadership; and the development of collaborative infrastructure between a wide range of partners.

It also focused on the “continued refining and honing of collaborative curricular arrangements between schools, colleges and training providers, especially for 14-16 year olds; the sustaining of broader, more relevant curricula in a wider range of settings; patchy implementation of individual learning plans; development work in the use of on-line portfolios in a minority of pathfinders; moves towards the development of on-line areas prospectuses in a minority of pathfinders and substantial activity in the provision of information, advice and guidance to young people.”


As far as noteworthy legacies are concerned, these include: the emergence of the concept of a 14-19 entitlement; broader, more relevant curricula giving learners greater choice and access to a much wider range of sites and modes of learning, leading to increasing curricular differentiation from age 14; and the development of substantial collaborative arrangements, frequently drawing in a wide range of partners and tackling a broad range of 14-19 issues.

They also include “the illumination of the ways in which local responsiveness can be combined with central steering to produce change at a local level; the development of a variety of forms of innovative learning for some learners; the development of strategic, collaborative leadership within the structural complexities of the 14-19 phase and in the context of high levels of institutional autonomy; the establishment of organisational infrastructures which supported collaborative working and the development of staff with networking skills able to facilitate collaboration within the 14-19 phase.”

Sudakshina Mukherjee

Stay at FE News for the second installment of this look at Pathfinders!

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