News at a glance
OCR renames qualification after legal challenge
Exam board OCR has renamed its flagship new Cambridge TEC vocational qualifications with immediate effect after a legal challenge from Pearson, owner of rival board Edexcel. The suite of qualifications will now be called Cambridge Technicals after Pearson instigated legal proceedings against the Cambridge board, accusing it of infringing the copyright of its BTEC brand. Exams watchdog Ofqual had also been investigating the Cambridge TEC to determine whether the brand met its regulatory requirements, following concerns that the title could cause confusion for learners. OCR chief executive Mark Dawe said: "We're confident that we've acted appropriately in line with Ofqual's requirements, and trademark and advertising guidelines. However, we see no advantage in entering into extended debate on this matter. At the end of the day, the qualification is what counts, not the brand." A Pearson spokeswoman said: "It's important that trademarks are respected in order that schools, students, universities and employers can easily distinguish between the different qualifications that are available."
FE teachers back professional standards
Eight out of 10 FE teachers think removing the requirement for them to have formal teaching qualifications will "deprofessionalise the sector", a survey conducted by the Institute for Learning (IfL) professional body has found. The research, carried out in response to Lord Lingfield's recommendation that teaching qualifications should no longer be mandatory, also found that 75 per cent of the 5,300 IfL members who responded said having a register of teachers and trainers was important to protect learners. Seventy-six per cent said FE teachers should hold at least a GCSE in maths and English. IfL chief executive Toni Fazaeli said: "This is not the time to be stepping back from initial teacher education. Ofsted's strong focus on teaching and learning means that every teacher or trainer being excellent is more important than ever."
Adult learning boosts employability
Part-time adult learning courses have positive effects on an individual's health, employability and relationships, according to new research. Daniel Fujiwara of the London School of Economics also found that taking two courses a year makes learners more likely to take up voluntary work, as well as helping them to find a new job or maintain their current employment. The monetary value of these benefits works out at more than #163;1,100 a year, the research concludes. Penny Lamb, head of policy development at the National Institute of Adult Continuing Education, which co-commissioned the report, said: "Our task now is to develop these findings and ensure they influence forthcoming funding and commissioning decisions."
VQ Day celebrated its fifth anniversary on Wednesday with a host of events across the country recognising "high quality vocational achievements and qualifications". Hundreds of schools and colleges marked the occasion to promote the achievements of their learners. City and Guilds director-general Chris Jones said the event could raise awareness about different career paths. "We firmly believe vocational qualifications can place people on the right path to success. However, many young people still don't realise the opportunities such qualifications can offer. For this reason, it's vital we celebrate work-based learning as much as we do academia," he added.