Good News For Learners!

Good news for learners on the legacy Functional Skills and those on apprenticeships who only need to achieve Level 1 Maths and English with the Secretary of States announcements on October 14th.

Extensions to Legacy Functional Skills are to be put in place to 31 July 2021.

The temporary suspension of the rule requiring level 2 apprentices to study towards, and attempt, level 2 functional skills exams to 31 March 2021 was also confirmed.

At least that takes the pressure off some learners a little, and every little helps!

New Apprenticeship Scheme

New apprenticeship scheme highlights that care is needed!


As we all adapt to the ‘new norm’ and businesses start returning to work, please give some thought to the new latest Government scheme to take on new apprentices. 

Small businesses that offer training for young people aged between 16 and 24 will be given cash “bonuses” of grants worth £2000 per youth up to a maximum of £10,000 per organisation. This on-the-job training is seen as a gateway to important skill development for young people through an apprenticeship and, ultimately, longer-term employment.

As an experienced education consultant and trainer, I urge businesses to carefully consider how they would use these new apprenticeship opportunities to support their organisation’s recovery and future development, post-COVID 19. 

I believe that tangible care needs to be undertaken to ensure that the apprentice is a correct ‘fit’ for the business and that training providers give the optimum level of support to the apprentice and employer to ensure that a successful relationship is brokered.

How to deploy an individualised apprentice programme

An individualised apprentice training programme needs to be implemented, informed via efficient baseline screening. Effective screening is important to support the development of a meaningful learning plan, that will meet the needs of both the employer and apprentice.

Creating Excellence welcomes this latest Apprenticeship Government initiative to help to kickstart jobs, however, the pandemic has brought significant changes to the post-16 education sector that need to be addressed in a careful, creative and considered way. We also all need to understand that training will have to encompass a more online approach, not only because it is a more cost-effective and versatile method of delivery, but it will mean that learning can continue if learners face even further disruption to their working patterns.

Additionally, in our opinion, the shift in apprenticeship delivery from frameworks to standards needs a completely different approach when planning training and teaching, something that is not always evident in the programme planning process. 

Content needs to be engaging

To be meaningful, the learning content needs to have real value and be engaging for learners. If the future of teaching is to encompass a blended split between face-to-face and online coverage, something we are already seeing in many schools and colleges, the delivery must be much more effective than has been experienced by many in the lockdown months. Many of us are aware of an abundance of students that have had a less than an OK learning experience, a situation that is causing grave concern for parents around the longer-term impact on the education of young people. 

We also believe that the new legal entitlement for essential digital skills – alongside maths and English and a first Level 2/3 – is further a significant change and opportunity, because there are over 11 million adults in the UK who do not possess the basic level of digital skills. A fact that is likely to also impact on the ability of younger people to interact with the technology they will need to access, in order to progress. 

We believe that this increased legal entitlement, alongside some of the AEB flexibilities, can provide a great and unique opportunity for training providers to diversify and build capacity in their business while supporting the kickstart initiatives being implemented by the government.

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About the author

Christine Edwards | Creating ExcellenceChristine Edwards QTLS is an English and numeracy expert, who has 45 years experience across the private, public and self-employed sectors.

She is a Personal Development Lead and staff trainer and has been an assessor, verifier, apprenticeship teacher/tutor and quality manager.

She was also a key person in several Ofsted inspections and strongly supports a whole organisational approach to maths and English.


ETF Has Launched A New CPD Programme

ETF Launches New CPD Programme

ETF has launched a new CPD programme, free to providers and staff, to support the implementation of the new essential digital skills legal entitlement.
This looks to be a really great programme that will help providers make the most of these useful new qualifications.

Ofqual guidance for the Maths and English assessments for Functional Skills 2020/21.

Here is an update on the assessment and awarding of GCSE and functional skills maths and English qualifications in 2021:
To read the consultation summary, please click here:

Thoughts on Assessments for 2020/2021

Christine Edwards | Creating Excellence
I have just finished working my way through Ofqual’s consultation report on the way that assessments will look, from their perspective for 2020/21. I have to say it isn’t an easy read, but there are some clear messages for me that I wanted to share.

1. It is extremely unlikely that there will be an aggregated grade process again. Ofqual expects that assessments will be completed in a manner that meets any restrictions and seems to favour extended length of learning programmes (calendar wise) to accommodate this.

2. Adjustments to assessments are being driven by awarding organisations, who will work under a loose framework set down by Ofqual because Ofqual believes that they ‘are best placed to determine the appropriate adaptations for the assessments they offer.’ Therefore the need to communicate with your AO is essential.

3. GCSEs and A levels are not falling within the same parameters for these adjustments for this next academic year.

4. The development of an online offer and learner’s possessing a sound basic set of digital skills is even more important.

There appears to be a thought process that content should be reduced to allow for less teaching to take place because of the restrictions that some may face. My personal feeling on this is that an approach like this would be a dangerous dilution of qualifications that could not only reduce the value of some key post 16 qualifications with employers but also disadvantage learners from having the full training that is recognised as being necessary within a qualification and learning programme.

Of course, adjustments need to be made, but they should be supportive of ensuring that the learners get the qualification that they need to progress with their career.

I appreciate that assessments, especially those of a more practical nature, can be more challenging, if not impossible, under the current climate, but there is surely no need to reduce the teaching aspect. We have seen major breakthroughs in recent weeks with how learning can be delivered online, so surely this is the way forward.

Of course, there are some learners who will struggle with the technology, but surely we have a duty of care to help them develop the skills they need and support them to be able to access the equipment etc., they need to fully engage with their learning programme.

The post 16 education sector is a different animal than pre 16, most learners want to learn in order to progress with their career goals and aspirations. I believe it is our responsibility to adjust what we are doing to best help and teach them what they need to know.

Here is the link to the full publication

Christine Edwards QTLS Creating Excellence

September 2020