News at a glance

23rd March 2012 at 00:00

Schools must provide impartial careers advice

The Association of Employment and Learning Providers (AELP) has called on Ofsted to ensure that schools offer impartial careers advice on students' post-16 options. From September, schools will be required to provide independent guidance from an external provider. AELP chief executive Graham Hoyle welcomed confirmation from the Department for Education that schools simply referring students to an online resource will not be sufficient. "Schools will need to be made aware of their statutory obligations and as MPs and peers from all parties have repeatedly made clear in parliamentary debates on the matter, they will need to comply," he said. "In our view, this requires inspectors from Ofsted to check on school visits that the necessary arrangements are in place for students to access impartial advice from an external service. We hope that Ofsted will regard this as a priority under its new framework."

Lambeth out of 157 Group after Ofsted censure

Lambeth College has left the prestigious 157 Group of colleges after a scathing Ofsted report. The college has reportedly been rated "inadequate" by the watchdog, although the report has not yet been formally published. Its departure from the group of large, influential colleges was announced by the 157 Group's executive director, Lynne Sedgmore. She said: "We have the greatest respect for Lambeth College and its work. We fully understand that Lambeth College's top priority in the near future is to focus on improving its performance. We are keen to support the college in whatever way we can, reflecting our aim to promote development and improvement in the sector as a whole."

OCR launches new post-16 vocational qualification

Exam board OCR has launched the Cambridge TEC, a new post-16 vocational qualification. The Cambridge-based board hopes to break the dominance of the rival Edexcel's BTEC qualification in the market. Level 2 and 3 Cambridge TECs will be available in health and social care, business and IT from September. Qualifications in art and design, media and sport will follow. OCR chief executive Mark Dawe said: "Our vision has been to help teachers face the challenge of driving up standards in vocational education with industry-backed qualifications that prepare students to progress... We have also been mindful as we roll out these qualifications and the associated package of support that teachers are facing challenging economic times so we have kept costs to a minimum."

Dragon Peter Jones expands academy network

Dragons' Den entrepreneur Peter Jones is expanding his network of specialist academies in 22 more FE colleges across England. This means that, from September, a Peter Jones Enterprise Academy will be open for business in 36 different colleges. The academies are "committed to supporting young people by offering unique training and development to help them live out their entrepreneurial dreams" through workshops, networking opportunities and business surgeries. Mr Jones said: "Our growing academy network aims to equip young people with the skills, confidence and experience to unleash the entrepreneur in them." Robin Ghurbhurun, deputy principal of New- castle College - one of the latest partners to join the programme - said: "To be named as a North East hub for the Peter Jones Enterprise Academy is a massive coup and testament to our commitment to develop and support the next generation of entrepreneurs."

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