Our guide to Curriculum Jobs in FE.
The curriculum is front and centre of any successful college. Curriculum management centres on deciding what is the most important for students to learn. There is a desire on behalf of government to see further education (FE) institutions re-align their curriculum offerings to make a “real difference to the economic and social wellbeing of the nation”.
The job spec for the Curriculum Team Leader role at Newham College London specifies that the position involves the “planning and allocation of workloads and duties, the maintenance and improvement of service delivery and improving efficiency and effectiveness in the use of resources and achievement of outcomes”.
A key part of the curriculum manager role will be managing and developing curriculum delivery, in order to drive up standards and ensure an excellent student experience. A UK government report suggests that the most successful colleges have a “clear mission based on improving learners’ knowledge, skills and achievement, and promoting social inclusion”.
The best colleges reviewed their curriculum to ensure it not only met the needs of students but also matched the aspirations of employers.
The 157 Group project concluded that there must be a clear rationale for curriculum redesign that members of college staff can easily understand. The rationale should include:
· Introducing broad strategies “to engage effectively with employers, so that they can identify employers’ skills and training needs adequately and, importantly, ensure their involvement in the curriculum development process”.
· A review of FE institutions’ internal structures must take place to consider the demands of employers. · Basing curriculum change on the “identified needs of the curriculum users, in relation to content, delivery methods and staff skills”.
· Supporting FE staff to support and simplify curriculum change.
FE is seen as the key area where the workforce of the future can be shaped. Kate Shoesmith, Head of Policy & Public Affairs at the Recruitment & Employment Confederation, explains that a lack of skilled staff in the UK is a major obstacle to economic growth.
As Dr Ann Limb, Trustee of the City & Guilds Group, Chair at SEMLEP and the Scouts Association, says “for employers to stay competitive, whether they are small, medium or large, they need to have the best possible talent”. In recent times, policymakers have turned their attentions to ensuring FE provision responds to the needs of the workplace, becoming “employer-led and employability skills-focussed”.
Government initiatives to increase employer engagement have thus far been relatively fruitless. An influential City & Guilds Group report highlighted the need for business leaders to be convinced that what government proposals will provide added value.
The group urged the government to develop a joined-up approach to FE and skills policy and ensure sustained dialogue and consultation with experts in the FE sector and employers. The report called for the creation of learning opportunities for disadvantaged groups, predominantly through creating more high-quality apprenticeships, as well as encouraging greater cross-sectoral collaboration. It also recommended that red tape be cut and greater transparency be provided around the practicalities of the reformed apprenticeship system.