Girls outperformed boys across almost all subjects taken at BTec level, according to the 2018 BTec results, reports TES. Of 430,000 BTec qualifications achieved in 2017-18, female students (3.8%) gained the top grade in the new extended diploma against 2.4% of male students, with a similar dominance ratio among those taking the top level 2 grade (female 15%, male 9%). Another finding is the dominance of females on applied science courses, which offer them openings into medical research and health and social care careers. Business, health and social care, IT/computing and sport were among the five most popular courses at BTec levels 2 and 3.
Numbers of adult learners are at their lowest ebb since their highpoint in 2001, according to figures based on surveys first carried out in 1996 and published for the first time by the Learning and Work Institute (LWI). According to TES, the total of adult learners has fallen by almost a quarter from 46% of respondents to 36% in 2017. LWI is calling for a far more flexible approach to learning to reflect changing life and work patterns, an ageing population and a constantly altering economy. Major adult learning activities cover areas such as practising, studying or reading up a topic or being instructed, taught or coached.
College teaching staff are to be offered special training to teach the forthcoming T-levels in an £8m professional development scheme being developed by the Education and Training Foundation. TES reports that the scheme will include a teacher development programme focusing on pedagogy and professional knowledge of a subject. The scheme will also help teachers embed maths, English and digital skills within the new technical T-level subjects, equip middle managers to make their colleges T-level ready, and foster a network of teacher development ‘knowledge’ hubs to cascade learning from the programme.
There has been a staggering under-use of apprenticeship levy funds by employers since the levy was introduced in April 2017, according to FE Week. Of £2.7bn that could have been used by employers by the end of this September, only £370m (13.7%) had been drawn down. It reflects more disappointing figures for apprenticeship starts, published last month, which show a 43% drop this July compared with numbers over July 2016 – the year prior to the launch of the apprenticeship levy.