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In this week's TES Further: How the levy can address employers' 'blind spot'

Also: The issue with the SEND reforms, and putting the 'FE' into the DfE

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Also: The issue with the SEND reforms, and putting the 'FE' into the DfE

In this weeks’ TES Further, Petra Wilton, director of strategy at the Chartered Management Institute (CMI), writes about how the apprenticeship levy can address employers' skills "blind spot" (article free for subscribers). The levy, she writes, can help employers upskill their existing workforce and attract the talent they need to succeed. Currently, the training of new managers is overlooked in many organisations. In a recent survey conducted by the CMI, up to 71 per cent of firms admitted that they failed to offer management training to first-time managers.

Businesses concerned about the cost of the levy should instead see it as a source of funding to develop management skills, Petra writes. Otherwise this managerial "blind spot" will only continue to grow.


Joe Baldwin, head of learning support and SEND strategic lead at Gloucestershire College, writes about the 2014 Children and Families Act – the biggest SEND reform in 30 years – which he says has left the sector with a raft of new responsibilities, but with little help from government to fulfil them. "The aspirations outlined with the Act and the code of practice were ambitious," Joe writes. "But at a time when colleges continue to seek ways to improve efficiencies in order to remain viable and sustainable, SEND reforms have stretched resources and capacity to untenable limits."

Meanwhile, TES columnist Sarah Simons talks behaviour management. It isn’t about managing other people’s behaviour – it’s about managing your own, Sarah says (article free for subscribers). A simple change in perspective can have a monumental impact on how you deal with others in the classroom. "It was crazy to think I could make anyone behave in a certain way," she writes. "Their behaviour was theirs to own."

Exclusive – apprenticeship levy target 'unattainable'

The government’s target of creating 3 million apprenticeships by 2020 will be “unattainable” unless it takes drastic action to make the programme more appealing to employers, according to research uncovered by TES reporter Julia Belgutay.

The study by policy consultancy SQW concludes that current reforms, including the creation of a new Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education and the introduction of the apprenticeship levy, are unlikely to address the reasons for the “endemically low level of apprenticeship adoption by employers”.

Putting the 'FE' into the DfE

Sir David Bell, vice-chancellor of the University of Reading, and a former civil servant at the Department for Education (DfE), writes about the drafting of FE and skills into the DfE. FE’s newfound place in the DfE offers grounds for optimism, David says, but only if the DfE champions FE. “It is hard to think of a government department that doesn’t have an interest in skills,” he writes. “From transport to defence; health to communities; business to justice – they all need the DfE to be a re-energised champion for FE if we are to thrive as a nation.”

Meanwhile, TES FE editor Stephen Exley asks the question: to delay, or not to delay? Last week, a letter signed by organisations representing charities, businesses and public sector organisations argued that a delay to the apprenticeship levy was the only viable option. At a time of financial uncertainty, introducing what critics describe as a large payroll tax on large employers might not be a wise move, Stephen says. But one thing is for certain: if the levy is delayed again, the consequences may be disastrous for the sector.


After reading the minutes of the latest area review advisory group, FErret has come to the conclusion that no one seems to know what the hell is going on (article free for subscribers). At least the long-awaited apprenticeship levy guidance is now published, after weeks of delay. But FErret sniffs more delays on the horizon, especially when it comes to the area reviews process – with internal and external evaluations of the process yet to take place.

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