Plan of action for Skills for Life
In the recently published 'New Challenges, New Chances: Further Education and Skills System Reform Plan', the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (DBIS) sets out plans to re-establish the terms ‘English’ and ‘Maths’ for adults, to prioritise young adults who lack English and Maths skills and those adults not in employment, and to fund GCSE English and Maths qualifications from September 2012.
In pages 10-11, the document states:
'There has been a large improvement since 2003 in Level 2 and above literacy, but no improvement in lower level literacy and the nation's numeracy skills have shown a small decline. So despite considerable efforts over the last 10 years to improve the basic skills of adults, our new national survey1 shows that 24% of adults (8.1 million people) lack functional numeracy skills and 15% (5.1 million people) lack functional literacy skills.* This is unacceptable.
Building on Lord Boswell's report on adult literacy we have undertaken a major review of how provision is delivered to improve the economic and personal returns to this investment.'
- Re-establish the terms 'English' and 'Maths' for adults.
- Prioritise young adults who lack English and Maths skills, and those adults not in employment.
- Pilot in 2012 how providers can be funded on the basis of the distance a learner has travelled.
- Fund GCSE English and Maths qualifications from September 2012.
- Recognise the differential learning patterns of adults by enabling Awarding Organisations to create standalone units that provide the necessary rigour and flexibility to support progression to a GCSE or other training.
- Confirm that, from the 2012/13 academic year, all Apprenticeship providers will be required to support Apprentices in progressing towards the achievement of Level 2.
- English and Maths. From October 2012 all Apprentices starting English and Maths courses will be taking Functional Skills or GCSE qualifications.
- Embed effective and timely screening by Jobcentre Plus advisers of the English and Maths needs of relevant benefit claimants, mandating them to an initial interview with a provider where a lack of these skills is preventing them from moving into work.
- Reinforce the focus on assessing the English and Maths needs of offenders at the very start of their sentence through the new specification on which the procurement of new learning providers is based. In addition, we will pilot intensive English and Maths provision in prisons, commencing early in 2012.
- Include the training of English and Maths teachers in the development fund for the sector to explore new models of delivering Initial Teacher Education.
- Ensure that by September 2012 the Learning and Skills Improvement Service's (LSIS) continuing professional development programme for Skills for Life teachers prioritises the most effective pedagogy for teaching English and Maths. LSIS will support a range of peer reviews and practitioner research programmes.
- Ofsted proposes to increase its focus on the quality of teaching, learning and assessment in inspection. Paying particular attention to how well teaching develops English and Maths skills.
- Promote a national Maths campaign. Instead of taking an expensive, top-down approach as has been done in the past, we will work with stakeholders and seek to engage 'champions', including high profile employers. These champions will target other employers and individuals with low skills in employment; and those on the margins of the labour market.
- Undertake a new research, development and evaluation programme from 2012.
- To read the document in full, visit www.bis.gov.uk