From education to employment

Sudakshina Mukherjee Continues Her Examination of the Latest Pathfinder Evaluation

The key factors of working and sustainability include: “Strategic vision and high level commitment, when developing broad-based collaboration involving a wide range of partners; the exercise of strategic leadership in order to build consensus and partnership to translate into practical activities; the establishment of a robust, collaborative infrastructure with skilled staff so as to translate strategic vision into operational activities and clearer modelling and estimation of the costs of various kinds of collaborative activities, for informed decision-making.”

Attention is also paid to understanding the fundamental curricular principles in order to make deliberative, rather than default, decisions about curriculum provision its structure and progression routes. It also took note of the “learning identities” of students, the ways in which these translate into learning careers and considered the moral and practical implications of these for the structure of curriculum provision, as well as the planning of learning and information, advice and guidance.

Five Main Areas

The evaluation had five main aims addressing: issues in best practice; key factors in effective working; sustainability; costing and implications for longer term development. Amongst the methods used were: documentary analysis; selective literature review; survey of all pathfinders; case study visits to sixteen pathfinders and non-funded partnerships and stand-alone costing study.

The report is divided into six broad sections and the main features of each are highlighted here. Section 2 focuses on the policy context of the initiative, particularly the implications of the 14-19 Education and Skills White Paper, the 14-19 Implementation Plan and the Every Child Matters agenda. As a result of the 14-19 Education and Skills White Paper (DfES, 2005a) which followed the final report of the Working Group on 14-19 Reform (DfES, 2004a), “a number of participants in the evaluation followed some media and academic commentary in seeing the White Paper as rejecting Tomlinson. They argued that this had had a detrimental effect upon 14-19 development.”

Specialised Diplomas

A key element of the White Paper was the proposal for “the development of fourteen specialised Diplomas at each of three levels which would eventually have to be made available to every 14-19 learner in England. Subsequently, Partnerships were beginning to consider how they might be involved in the formal piloting of diplomas or align their development work to the introduction of the first five diplomas in 2008.”

The report also found that the White Paper and the Implementation Plan reinforced the importance of partnership and collaboration, with all areas required to have 14-19 partnerships in place by the end of 2006. The Implementation Plan stated that “there can be no one-size-fits-all model of implementation” so that “The detail of how the entitlement is to be delivered in an area must be decided locally” (DfES,2005b, p.44).

Sudakshina Mukherjee

Stay at FE News for the concluding part of Pathfinder 2006!

Related Articles