Saturday, 26 March 2016

good exam results won't get you a good job

Do we need an education system which 'excites' children?
Jay Doubleyou: producing more employable students

Or do we need schools which are focussed on 'raising standards'?
Jay Doubleyou: academy schools vs democracy?

The problem seems to be that young people do not emerge with 'life skills':
Jay Doubleyou: education: dumbing us down
Jay Doubleyou: john taylor gatto - best teacher ever

As this recent piece from the Daily Mail suggests:

Special report: first-class student, second-rate skills



At a time when young people are achieving outstanding A-levels and top university degrees yet can’t secure first jobs, Anna Moore finds out which skills not on the syllabus are key to getting ahead at work



When Sarah’s daughter Daisy won a place at a high-achieving state sixth form, they were both invited to an induction evening. The hall was filled with proud parents and children who had worked flat out to achieve their clutch of A* GCSEs. But now, said the head of sixth form, the real work was beginning.
A-levels, he warned, were ‘ten times harder’. ‘To get the best grades for the best universities, the strong message was that they needed to put in the hours,’ Sarah recalls. ‘After-school activities were frowned upon. For this bunch of students A-levels were their life. Everything else had to be squeezed in around Daisy’s workload.’ She couldn’t have a Saturday job. She left her choir and orchestra as there was no longer time for them. Her social life was whittled down.
Two years later, Daisy aced her exams (A*, A, A) and went to a top university – where the message was the same. A good degree required absolute commitment, which Daisy gave – and graduated with a first. ‘Now she’s looking for a job but no one seems interested in her grades or degree,’ says Sarah. ‘What everyone wants is real-life experience, people skills, a part-time employment record. Daisy has worked incredibly hard, but it’s as if those years of sacrifice – not to mention horrendous debt – were wasted.’
Business leaders are sending out a similar message. Research by the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) and Confederation of British Industry (CBI), as well as poll upon poll by recruitment agencies, consistently point to the same conclusion: young people may be more academically qualified than ever – but they’re hopelessly unprepared for the world of work.
Interestingly, last month the publisher Penguin Random House announced it was dropping academic requirements for applicants, following the lead of financial firms such as Ernst & Young, which has removed all academic and education details from its trainee application process in a bid to boost workplace diversity.
In October last year, the BCC’s director general John Longworth called for the reinstatement of compulsory work experience to ‘help close the yawning skills gaps reported by frustrated businesses across the UK’. One study by the Korn Ferry Hay Group showed just how deep this ‘yawning gap’ can be, revealing that more than 90 per cent of the employers believed that ‘strong people skills’ were important, whereas more than half the graduates believed that people skills got in the way of doing the job.
‘Young people have been taught to be results oriented so they’re focused on completing the task,’ says David Smith, consultant at Korn Ferry Hay Group. ‘When you enter the workforce, it’s not only about producing financial figures or developing a software programme, it’s about working in teams, managing stress, demonstrating self-control. Can you influence people, sell an idea, stay calm in certain situations? Anyone with experience knows how important these soft skills are to the bottom line.’
Peter Burgess, director of Retail Human Resources, couldn’t agree more. As the largest recruitment company working in retail, with clients including Marks & Spencer, John Lewis and Arcadia, Peter is finding young people at once better qualified and unemployable.
‘Nearly all companies want second-jobbers now,’ adds Peter. ‘They don’t want to recruit graduates or college leavers as they have no idea how the workplace works.
‘It’s not their fault,’ he continues. ‘Even if you have a first from Oxford, you probably won’t have the skills recruiters need. At school and university, you’re herded around. It doesn’t matter if you miss a class or gawp at your phone in the middle of a lecture. It doesn’t matter if you struggle speaking to strangers or you don’t like using the phone as you prefer to text. All these things matter when you get a job – but if you’ve never worked, you’ll never know.’
No one is interested in grades, people want real life experience 
Peter Burgess is a passionate advocate of part-time jobs. He says, ‘You learn a hell of a lot through waiting tables or working in Sainsbury’s on Saturdays. We’ve let young people down by pampering them. In America, students work their way through college and come out well-rounded.’
Jane Sunley, CEO of employment engagement agency Purple Cubed, is author of It’s Never OK to Kiss the Interviewer: and Other Secrets to Surviving, Thriving and High-fiving at Work. She realised young people needed a guide to finding and keeping a job when she was giving a university lecture on employability skills and a student asked if he should kiss the interviewer ‘even if she was a woman’.
‘I love Generation Y – they have lots of optimism and brilliant potential, but they’ve been a bit indulged. And I say this as a mother of daughters aged 17 and 19,’ says Jane Sunley. ‘Lots of my daughters’ friends always got from A to B in minicabs charged to their parents’ Uber accounts. If you’ve been ferried around by parents or cabs, then you’re never going to be able to get to work on time. It’s as basic as that.
‘At 16, my elder daughter got a weekend job managing the queue in a burger joint,’ she continues. ‘She’s at university now but that job taught her how to be a good employee. When she started she was quite timid, but it toughened her up, taught her resilience, negotiation skills, how to be respectful. The hospitality industry is brilliant for that, even if you never want to work in it again.’
Mark Woolley, award-winning celebrity hairstylist and entrepreneur behind the Electric brand, is taking a similar approach with his four children, aged between five and 15. Mark himself left school at 16 to join a hair salon under the Youth Training Scheme. 
‘My parents were in utter shock but I knew that if I stayed at school, I’d have scraped by with a few A-levels, then gone to university and scraped an average or below average degree,’ says Mark. ‘Instead I found something I loved, built a business and created a brand. A lot of the skills and knowledge behind that aren’t taught in school, so when my first child was born I made a pledge to myself to give my children this ongoing education. I’m teaching all of them to do hair – not so they want to be hairdressers, but because it teaches them the social aspect and develops creativity and confidence.’

Celebrity hairstylist Mark Woolley (above with his son Harrison) ensures his children receive an education that reaches beyond what is taught in schools
Celebrity hairstylist Mark Woolley (above with his son Harrison) ensures his children receive an education that reaches beyond what is taught in schools

Both of Mark’s elder sons help out in the salon and head office. ‘My eldest is very confident, happy serving drinks to people, having a chat. He’ll remember what the customers were doing last time they came.’ They also attend product launches. ‘We had one in Harvey Nichols and the boys dressed in blazers and walked around chatting to people – those people skills will help them whatever they want to do.’
Most important is their financial education. ‘I don’t want to sound like a 40-year-old saying, “Kids today!” but this generation is a little less savvy than mine was,’ he says. ‘We’re in the process of buying a farm which will be a place to make products and a home. The children understand that we need to sell our house at X price and take on a loan of X amount. They understand the business balance sheet. I went to collect my ten-year-old daughter from school the other day and the head teacher came up to me and said that her knowledge of mortgages was unbelievable!’
So what do employers look for in a young person? Rhian Price is agency manager at FCB Inferno, the creative agency behind the This Girl Can campaign. Rhian handles the CVs, interviews and inductions for hundreds of young applicants each year. 
‘I don’t know what my boss would think if he heard me say this but I never look at academic qualifications,’ she admits. ‘I’ll look at work experience, and I’ll look to see what they have done with their spare time. We recently took on someone who’d set up a company for writing code. We wouldn’t employ anyone who hadn’t worked already – even a Saturday job shows you’ve put yourself out there.’
What doesn’t go down well? ‘Text speak,’ says Rhian. ‘Lower case font, no punctuation, informal language. I get letters from graduates saying, “Hi there, have you got any jobs?” We had someone recently on work experience who was brilliant but he had this slouch. He’d lie back in his chair with his legs splayed. Something as small as this puts you off offering a job – you don’t want someone like that working with clients, trying to win new business.’
Many companies are now building ‘soft skills’ training into their graduate schemes in recognition of the growing need. For parents wanting their children to acquire these skills a little sooner, there are a few projects and courses available, the best known of which is Young Enterprise (young-enterprise.org.uk). Available in more than half of the secondary schools across the country – and set to increase to 75 per cent by 2018 – it offers one-day masterclasses and month-long schemes as well as its flagship project where participants set up a real business over an academic year, creating a product, devising a business plan, presenting and marketing it at trade fairs, all under the guidance of a mentor. (Unsurprisingly, follow-up research has shown that participants are twice as likely to start businesses in later life.)
Tacita Small has held senior human resources (HR) roles with Apple, Westfield, Disney and is currently HR director at Ministry of Sound. As the mother of two young boys, she feels strongly that there’s a lot more work to be done. ‘At state schools, and even a lot of universities, there are no admission interviews,’ she says. ‘Many young people are having their first interview when they apply for their first job, by which time it’s too late.
‘Certain issues come up time and time again – in interviews and in first jobs,’ she continues. ‘There’s time management – turning up on time and not wasting it. Taking feedback on board. Work is full of appraisals – if you’ve been told you’re amazing your whole life, you don’t respond well to anything negative.’ Now setting up her own HR consultancy company, Edeson, Tacita intends to run free workshops for primary- and secondary-school-aged children to teach presentation and communication.
For Sarah and Daisy, meanwhile, it’s back to square one, with Daisy having started weekend work in a bike shop, volunteering with a charity, filling out application forms and, ironically, restarting her old hobbies – choir, orchestra – to demonstrate her well-roundedness. ‘With hindsight, Daisy would have been better off if she’d spent less time studying in her room,’ says Sarah. ‘My advice to other parents would be don’t focus too much on academia. Get your child out into the real world.’

Top ten skills that aren’t taught at university 

By Jane Sunley, author of It’s Never OK to Kiss the Interviewer: and Other Secrets to Surviving, Thriving and High-fiving at Work
1 How to chat to people of all types and ages; eg, no mumbling; maintain eye contact; be interested as well as interesting.
2 How to get people on side by asking questions, making an effort and offering to make the tea.
3 How to speak confidently on the office telephone, take notes and know when not to look at your mobile.
4 Financial skills – being able to understand profit, turnover, costs and margins.
5 Punctuality and flexibility – being willing to go over and above the requirements of the job (even if that means staying late sometimes).
6 Spelling, grammar, punctuation – not using ‘text talk’ in emails or letters.
7 How to strike a balance between friendly and professional – not using teen talk (‘you guys’ or ‘cheers’) in pitches and presentations.
8 Being organised and ‘switched on’ – being ready for the day, using a diary, remembering things.
9 Being able to think, problem-solve, make decisions and ask for help when necessary.
10 How to be practical and useful: being able to get from A to B, run errands across town and plan journeys.
  


Special report: first-class student, second-rate skills | Daily Mail Online
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Thursday, 24 March 2016

academy schools vs democracy?

There is the fear that standards are going down in our schools:
Jay Doubleyou: education in the uk - high university intake - low literacy rates

And that too many young people are Not in Education, Employment or Training:
Jay Doubleyou: neets - again

Standards need to be raised:
Jay Doubleyou: the purpose of education: from china to prussia to the united states

And schools need to be more productive:
Jay Doubleyou: producing more employable students

Some would say that education is more than 'employability':
Jay Doubleyou: too focussed on exam results
Jay Doubleyou: SAT tests are 'weakening our democracy"

This if from the Guardian from this week:

Michael Rosen on academy schools: ‘Local democracy bites the dust’


The government’s insistence that all schools become academies sweeps aside input from governors, staff and parents. Could it have more to do with privatisation than raising standards?



 George Osborne visits a primary school the day after announcing in his budget speech that all schools in England will become academies by 2020. Photograph: WPA Pool/Getty Images


It is best if you don’t read this article. After all, I am not sure that your opinions on education count for very much. You may have read the Conservative manifesto and not found it stated there that the party would turn all schools into academies. Most primary schools have chosen not to convert to academy status. The views of the governing bodies, staff, parents and children in those schools clearly don’t matter.
Perhaps the government doesn’t even take notice of what its own ministers say. Schools minister Nick Gibb said last September: “This government does not believe that all academies and free schools are necessarily better than maintained schools [which are mostly local authority schools].” One word of warning here: Gibb is a busy man. Recently, he has taken time out to write a letter to the Times Educational Supplement about the correct use of exclamation marks. Does this mean that the government has nationalised punctuation? Why not? This move on academies is about centralising education as never before.
One popular view of education is that it has been like that since governments first thought it was their job to provide education for all, but that is only half the story. The principle locked into the education system has always been that local people have a crucial role in running and checking schools where they live. Not that it has been totally local either; it has always been a partnership between central and local governments.
In one stroke, George Osborne has eliminated the public’s role in education where we live. Here he is explaining why: “It is simply unacceptable that Britain continues to sit too low down the global league tables for education.” In taking over ministerial responsibility for education, Osborne seems to have forgotten that this job applies only to England. The reference to “global” tables is part of the argument that says doing exclamation marks better than Johnny Foreigner enables British capitalism to compete better with the Chinese. “So I’m going to get on with finishing the job we started five years ago,” he continues, “to drive up standards and set schools free from the shackles of local bureaucracy.”

Osborne’s line of argument here seems to be that the reason Britain is “too low down” in the tables is because of the “shackles of local bureaucracy”. It’s a big claim – the kind of claim you might expect a minister to back up with evidence. When people have asked if there is, right now, a direct link between local authorities’ role in education and real or supposed low standards, answer comes there none.
So, if academies and free schools are not necessarily better than maintained, what particular kind of magic is going to raise the standards of the schools of England purely through the mechanism of turning them all into academies?
Suspicious minds have suggested that it is not really about standards, and have focused on the possibility that it is all to do with privatisation. In place of local government, an archipelago of individuals, trusts, charities, educational institutions and companies is involved in running academies and free schools. Some are organised into “chains” that resemble in shape the grouping of schools you get with local authorities. Some sponsors and chains succeed, some fail – as Gibb has noticed.
Through this labyrinth, dance interesting folk. Example: one academy headteacher notched up a salary of £390,000 in one year; he was the sole director of a dating website, a health club and accommodation business on the school site;the National Audit Office found that the head’s own firm was paid £508,000 in management fees over three years, though investigators were unable to determine the extent to which the head benefited from the arrangement. (That’s the labyrinth again.) This was one-time government favourite Sir Greg Martin and the Durand academy.

What kind of set-up is the government putting in place where something like this can go on? This is the invisible part of the equation. You can watch hours of chit-chat about academies on TV and one vital part of the story hardly ever gets a mention: who has got the keys?
This is how it works: your school is a local authority school. When it becomes an academy, the local authority is compelled to give (for a peppercorn rent) a 125-year lease to whichever “sponsor” comes in to take over the school. Leaseholders have rights over the properties they have leases on, including, perhaps, permission to run a “dating agency” on school premises. Where Sir Greg trod, others are sure to step, too. In the case of “foundation” schools – schools whose ownership is in the hands of a trust – switching to academy status entails a direct transfer of freehold from the trust to the new sponsors. There is room for some serious cash to be made here.
There is room for some other jiggery-pokery too. On several occasions in the past few years, I have been invited into schools by people from the soon-to-be-extinct species, local authority advisers. At some point in our chats, they have taken me to one side and told me that central government, academy chains and individual academies do not have a duty of care for all children. That is the local authority’s job. That duty covers vulnerable, “challenging”, at-risk, disabled, asylum-seeking and looked-after children. Advisers have told me they have found children who were once in academies somehow no longer being in academies, whether that is a result of the rush to improve test scores, prove “progress” or because of an unwillingness to spend money on supporting such children. Who has picked up the pieces? The local authority. We can imagine the wall-to-wall academies landscape of the future full of the same urge to offload “difficult” children. In which case, impoverished local authorities will end up having to run impoverished “units” for them, won’t they?
In the academies themselves, other possibilities are taking shape. In 2012, while education secretary, Michael Gove released them from therequirement to hire well-paid, trained teachers. This “advance” has coincided with automated teaching appearing on iPads. Why employ people trained to teach, when a software company can do it for you? A future beckons where the student will sit in a pod and press a button: the word “cheese” appears. The student types in “vache”, the machine says “no”. The student types in “fromage”, the machine says “yes”. An untrained operative walks past, nods, and walks on. One student is mucking about. The operative finds the student’s name on the discipline app, clicks on “negative comment”. As it’s the third time this week, the student’s name pops up on the deputy head’s screen. The student is sent off for an hour in the detention suite: no need for human contact – made all the easier through academicisation.
But look, says Osborne, the reason we are doing this is because we want to give schools autonomy: the national curriculum doesn’t apply to academies. I am not going to big up the national curriculum. A good deal of it is made up of Gove’s envelope jottings. Even so, it is worth remembering that it cost several millions to devise these programmes of  study for local authority schools. They will now be binned.
What won’t be binned, though, is the test and exam industry – or the real curriculum, as I call it. The never-ending roll-out of tests enables ministers to micromanage what goes on in every classroom. That is why Gibb felt entitled to lecture the nation on punctuation. Does the minister responsible for sport issue directives on the offside rule? I don’t think so. Education seems to give ministers the entitlement to treat it as their toy.
At present, 2,075 out of 3,381 secondary schools and 2,440 out of 16,766 primaryschools are academies. By 2022, every school will be an academy under the direct rule of the secretary of state. When Gove was in that post, I used to imagine that he had a map of England with each academy given a light for its exact location on the map ... when Rasheda in Northampton lost her ruler or Dave in Cornwall weed on the floor, the warning light came on and Gove was on the phone to deal with it ... when a parent had a complaint, Gove was on the end of the line to solve the problem ... But I was informed that this wasn’t how the secretary of state was spending his time.
Now, with many more schools under direct rule, what has arrived are what Osborne in other circumstances might perhaps have called “the shackles of local bureaucracy”. They are the innovative but unelected regional schools commissioners, whose job is to do what local authority advisers used to do, but with hundreds more schools on their books. Not so innovative, then. Perhaps these commissioners have bought Gove’s illuminating maps so that when the light comes on, they jump in their cars and head for the North York Moors, or Dover.
One time-saver: when they get there, they won’t have to meet the parent governor. That job has just been abolished. Another local election bites the dust. We parents don’t need one of our own to keep an eye on what goes on in academies, do we? We might find that the academy head is running a dating agency.

Michael Rosen on academy schools: ‘Local democracy bites the dust’ | Education | The Guardian
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Monday, 21 March 2016

blended learning and the flipped classroom

There is e-learning:
Jay Doubleyou: e-learning platforms

There is blended learning:
Blended learning - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia



Blended learning in 2 minutes and 38 seconds - YouTube
The Basics of Blended Learning - YouTube
Click here-- blended learning and the future of education: Monique Markoff at TEDxIthacaCollege - YouTube

And there is the flipped classroom:
Flipped classroom - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia



The Flipped Class: Rethinking Space & Time - YouTube
Teaching for Tomorrow: Flipped Learning - YouTube

See also:
Salman Khan: Let's use video to reinvent education - YouTube
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producing more employable students

How to motivate students?
Is it really about producing more employable students...?

We Need An Education System That Excites Children

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Andy Powell, CEO of independent education foundation Edge, sets out his vision for the future of education.
The nation needs an education system that excites and stimulates children, providing them with the learning they need - and deserve - to fulfill their potential.  This means providing a curriculum of practical and vocational learning alongside theoretical study.
This need for change has never been more pressing.  It is not due to the fault of any individual, any school or even any one political party but due to the simple fact the world has changed - and our education system has not changed fast enough.  Indeed, it is largely based on a system developed over a century ago; a factory manufacturing model where children are placed on a learning conveyor belt, then sorted, packaged and labelled according to their so-called intelligence.
However, in this day and age there is no excuse for such a top-down, one-size-fits-all education system that does not enable all children to thrive in their own way.  We must recognise that young people are individuals with different talents and dreams.  As such, not all children learn in the same way.  We need to move towards a system of mass customisation, based on a strong common core of essential skills and knowledge, which allows young people to develop their own particular talents and aspirations.
We must support young people in discovering what they enjoy and are good at - and who they want to be in life.  And we must encourage and support teachers and schools in responding to these different needs.  Young people will learn if they see learning as important, meaningful and worthwhile.
A crucial issue for the recession
Revolution in education is a particularly crucial issue in the context of the current economic climate.  Young people leaving full-time education next summer will find themselves in the toughest recruitment market in years.  The current outdated education system is not making the best use of the most precious natural resource this country possesses - its next generation.
The UK requires people with passion, know how, initiative, creativity, resilience and self knowledge; people who can get on with others and who know when to listen and when to lead.  These skills and abilities cannot be gained in the classroom alone; they come from ‘practical learning’ – learning by doing things for real, working with experts, and integrating theory with practice.
Since Edge first launched its ‘call to action’ in April - inviting everyone from education professionals, MPs and opinion formers to parents and young people to help us create a mass movement for change – the response from all areas has been extremely positive.  Practical and vocational learning is no longer a marginal topic, no longer the option for other people’s children.
Six Steps to Change
Edge’s Six Steps to Change Manifesto identifies how governments across the UK can reform the education system to better meet the needs of all young people and employers.
The Six Steps to Change are:
  1. A broad curriculum up to age 14 with opportunities to develop life skills and experience a range of future options. Life skills such as team work, problem solving and enterprise should be explicitly taught and assessed through practical activities linked to academic subjects and vocational areas.  There should be a new emphasis on direct experience of future options, including visits to workplaces, colleges and universities, and hearing at first hand from people, who have already made career and learning choices. 
  2. SATS replaced by an individual profile of attainment, skills and aptitudes which would be used by students, parents and teachers to choose a post 14 pathway.  In order to make choices parents and students need to understand a student’s strengths and aspirations.  The profile built up over their time in school would help students, their parents and teachers discuss the next steps.
  3. At 14 all students, in addition to continuing a broad curriculum, including English, maths and science, would be supported in choosing a pathway matched to their interest and abilities, each with a different balance of theoretical and practical learning.  For some the pathway will be largely academic and theory-based; for many it will be a blend of theory and practice, connecting new knowledge and skills with the wider world; and for some it will be centred on practical learning.  The emphasis will be on breadth and keeping options open for young people while allowing them to pursue their interest in depth.
  4. Students on practical and vocational courses would be taught in specialist facilities or specialist institutions and by appropriately experienced staff.  This will ensure students are motivated and receive an excellent professional education.  There will be many more specialist institutions, the nature of which would be determined locally.  Teachers of vocational subjects would be appropriately experienced, trained and receive the same pay and conditions as those teaching academic subjects.
  5. At 16, students would choose to specialise within their pathway, change to another pathway or enter employment with training.  For example students on the engineering pathway might specialise in electrical engineering.  Some students might choose to leave full time education and start an apprenticeship.
  6. Beyond 18, students would have the opportunity to study at degree level in a centre of vocational excellence endorsed by employers.  This would raise the status of vocational learning, and provide clear progression routes, while improving the employability of the students. 
All practical and vocational courses should reflect the demands of the modern workplace, be formally endorsed by employers and evolve under their guidance – as well as supported by current experts.  Students on such courses should spend at least ten per cent of their study in the workplace – i.e. eight weeks over two years.  They would have a programme of study during this time and receive guidance and support from a trained workplace mentor.
The Six Steps to Change Manifesto aims to eliminate the current academic bias and the corrosive divide between academic and vocational learning, which views ‘know how’ as inferior to ‘know what’.  It outlines a way to ensure there more high-quality options that combine theory and practice and are regarded by all as credible alternatives to a high-class academic route.
Changes
Will these changes come about?  I believe they will.  Our current system has reached the point of diminishing returns where we have tried most mechanisms; from more money, to targets with related incentives and public shame, to new types of qualification, and a thousand and one new ‘initiatives’.  It is hard to imagine that we are suddenly going to transform education unless we go back to the basic principle, which is that people learn if they enjoy it and can see its relevance.
We need a new approach, a new paradigm.  This becomes very apparent when we compare ourselves with other countries.  The UK has some great strengths which we must not lose, particularly in terms of top-end, high quality academic learning.  But our greatest weakness is our ability to turn diversity into hierarchy.  Our system is largely based on the misguided belief that one form of intelligence is in some way more important than (or ‘better’) than another.
Encouragingly, I think the necessary changes are already starting to happen.  The signs of spring are all about us:
  • The cross-party Skills Commission report, Inspiration and Aspiration recognises that a totally new model of careers information, advice and guidance is needed – for example, ensuring people have access to websites where they can find out about different training routes and use forums to discuss careers with people who have experienced them.
  • A high profile major new employer campaign to provide more meaningful, relevant and inspiring experiences of the world of work for young people is being planned. 
  • The growing interest in ‘employability skills’, the piloting of explicit teaching of positive psychology and the emergence of schools and colleges which build learning around core skills and capabilities, locking enterprise in the broadest sense into all aspects of learning.  Examples range from RSA’s Open Minds and HTI ‘Go for It’ schools, to enterprise Academies and colleges like Sheffield City College.
  • The move against rigid SATs tests and related targets, and interest in a more balanced ‘scorecard’ of attainment.
  • The development of a major new learning pathway in the form of Diplomas, the success of Young Apprenticeships and the rapid increase in take-up of more practical and vocational qualifications within schools.
  • Totally new types of institutions with a commitment to more practical learning delivered in the right facilities by appropriately experienced teachers, such as Madeley Academy (a Thomas Telford School) and Studio Schools.
  • Emerging interest in a new and more practical pedagogy and the challenging of existing divisions between school, FE and HE teacher training - a new Skills Commission enquiry is starting on this issue. 
  • The revival of apprenticeships.
  • Foundation degrees (where they are truly developed with employers), new initiatives between HE and employers, including HE validation of work-based learning.
The seeds of change are sprouting - but they won’t automatically grow.  For them to flourish they need to be recognised and nurtured.  They need the support of the nation; from parents, to young people, MPs and the business community.
Andy Powell, CEO of independent education foundation Edge.

We need an education system that excites children
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Friday, 18 March 2016

e-learning platforms

We know what Moodle is:

Moodle is a free and open-source software learning management system written in PHP and distributed under the GNU General Public License.[3][4] Developed on pedagogical principles,[5][6] Moodle is used for blended learningdistance educationflipped classroom and other e-learning projects in schools, universities, workplaces and other sectors.[7][8]
With customizable management features, it is used to create private websites with online courses for educators and trainers to achieve learning goals.[9][10] Moodle (acronym for modular object-oriented dynamic learning environment) allows for extending and tailoring learning environments using community sourced plugins[11]

Moodle - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Here are examples of university moodle sites in the UK:
Moodle
Exeter Learning Environment
University of Portsmouth Moodle Site
UCL Moodle

There are others of course - from outside the English-speaking world:
Start page - P├Ądagogische Hochschule Karlsruhe

More publishers are putting together their own learning platforms on-line:
MyEnglishLab

There is a free facility many consider better:
Edmodo | Connect With Students and Parents in Your Paperless Classroom
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