An 'adjustment' scheme, created to allow students exceeding their expected grades thereby allowing them to 'trade up' to 'better' universities, as not been implemented by the universities the scheme was designed to open up access to.

Leading institutions such as Oxford, Cambridge, LSE and Durham were among those who had turned down such applicants. Only 353 students had been awarded places at new institutions through the sceheme, according to UCAS.

There are still 55,000 pending decisions - either where the university is pausing to decide whether to accept a student or where the student has yet to accept an offer.

Carl Lygo, head of BPP University College, suggested on Monday that students this year were "calling the shots" as they shop around for places.

Read the original story at the Telegraph and BBC

At a conference on graduate employability hosted by the Universities Alliance group, Labour shadow minister for higher education Shabana Mahmood went on record as saying that less tangible assets such as "emotional resilience" and the ability "to imply and fake confidence when you do not feel it."

Recalling her days as the sole barrister in her chambers from an immigrant, working-class background, Ms. Mahmood termed these assets as 'soft skills', not specifically able to target jobs by themselves but able to support a candidate through the job search and the establishment of oneself in a workplace.

Higher education was said to be central to the strategy of "high-value, long-term wealth creation" and "cohesive societies", and criticised the present coalition's HE policy as "going in the wrong direction as far as expanding opportunity is concerned."

Read the original article at Times HE

The annual HEA conference on the 3rd & 4th of July, held at the University of Manchester, was the venue for several presentations and speeches underlining the necessity for innovation and fresh approaches to teaching in the HE sector.

Of particular note was the speech given by Mark Freeman, director of accreditation at the University of Sydney Business School, who claimed that higher education institutions do not do more to adopt innovative practices, even when there is strong evidence to demonstrate their benefits.

The teaching model, which combines individual study with group discussions and classroom debate, has proved highly successful at several institutions, and particularly in medical faculties in the US, he said.

But despite overwhelmingly positive feedback from students - 81% said it motivated progressive learning - academics doubted whether team-based learning would be used more widely at their institutions, he said.

That was partly because scholars found it difficult to communicate the results of the new mode of teaching to others. One in five said its benefits were not visible at all to their colleagues, while 56 per cent said the positive results were only partially visible to others.

Too often innovators were also seen as "outliers" who operated outside the mainstream of the academy, Mr Freeman said. Senior managers needed to "walk the walk" and celebrate innovators within their departments if new teaching methods were to take off, he added.

In the conference's opening speech, Martin Bean, VC of Open University, seemed to echo Freeman's call, wishing for a move away from the 'sage on the stage' of old, looking for academics to 'deconstruct and reconstruct' their teaching methods.

Read the original article at Times HE

At present, around 1 in 12 students study their university courses at an institution regarded as a Further Education (FE) college, though plans unveiled by the present coalition government show a keen desire to expand upon this.

However, according to a report published by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, whilst the FE colleges have come in for praise regarding class size and contact hours, the level of information afforded to the students who choose to study their has been condemned as insufficient, with worries that some students in places at FE colleges were ill-informed.

The report, entitled Understanding Higher Education in Further Education Institutions, surveyed 2500 students with the HE in FE sector and found that 10% of them had not realised that they had chosen to study at a college and had thought they were going to university. "They did not appear to see they had other choices," the report says.

Around 65% of the respondents cited the cost of leaving their current area as problematic, and a third had simply applied to stay on at the institution they completed their FE study at.

However, the FE sector has come in for praise in terms of the widening of access for sectors of society traditionally ignored by the HE sector. Sheffield University's Gareth Parry, one of the report's authors, said: "A key advantage enjoyed by [further education colleges] is their ability to reach students that universities, even those with a strong widening-participation ethos, struggle to reach."

Boston College's Fiona Grady added that "a lot of our students who are starting in September are doing higher education only because they realise...they can do it here. Not everybody wants to leave their home town."

James Winter, chair of the Council of Validating Universities, a body representing higher education institutions with college partners, said it was "striking" that the report had expressed "worries about the impact of the government's reforms on the stability needed to build effective collaboration".

Ministers should heed these warnings if they were "serious" about expanding provision in colleges, he said.

Read the original article at the Times HE.

The University of Bolton is hoping to attract elite athletes and hopefuls for the Olympic Games of 2016 and beyond by offering the first year free to young elite athletes. Subsequent years will be offered at a reduced rate of £5000 per annum.

Up to 50 places will be offered sportspersons already competing at county level in their sport, as well as needing to meet the minimum required grades for entry.

Dr. George Holmes, Vice Chancellor, has said "we recognise that aspiring athletes have financial strains balancing training needs with academic studies. Due to training they can’t earn while they learn like many other students, hence we want to help them with these scholarship places. Hopefully these will allow them to achieve their full potential at university and for Team GB."

This marks Bolton's entry into sports scholarships, alongside established sporting universities such as Loughborough, Liverpool, and Exeter, and offers an institution-based initiative allowing for funding bodies such as the Talented Athlete Scholarship Scheme (TASS) to spread funding wider.

Read the original press release at University of Bolton

Oxford University, as well as other elite UK institutions, have hit out at Vince Cable's quota system incorporated as part of the binding agreement universities were asked to sign as part of the agreement to charge fees above £6000 per year. Oxford currently charges £9000 per year.

Oxford University said that it was 'misleading' to treat all state school students as disadvantaged, compared with those who have been privately educated. "Our goal is to increase access for under-represented groups. We are not convinced that using school type is the best means to that end."

The countermeasure suggested by Oxford is the admission of students from homes that earn less than £16k per annum; the lowest income bracket.

A Department for Business, Innovation and Skills spokesman said: "The Government is determined that no-one with the ambition and ability, whatever their background, should come up against barriers to accessing higher education."

"Universities will be investing over £670 million in attracting students from disadvantaged backgrounds by 2016/17, over quarter of their fee income above basic fee levels."

Read the original story.

New rules announced by the Department for Education will extend the ability to hire unqualified teachers from beyond the independent and free school sectors, and into the nation's academy-listed schools.

A spokesperson at DfE said that "We are extending this flexibility to all academies so more schools can hire great linguists, computer scientists, engineers and other specialists who have not worked in state schools before."

The move has been welcomed by those already within the current non-QTS areas of education, such as Richard Cairns, the headmaster of the independent Brighton College, who believes that teachers are "born, not made."

"I will actively seek out teachers from all walks of life who have the potential to inspire children," he said. "We have 39 teachers without formal teaching qualifications, including me."

Strong opposition has been meted out by the teaching unions. Brian Lightman, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, representing secondary heads, urged academies to ignore the reforms.

"Teaching is a skill, and the idea of employing individuals who have not been given the tools to do a professional job flies in the face of the coalition government's aspiration of creating a high status profession."

Christine Blower, general secretary of the National Union of Teachers, accused the government of a "dereliction of duty.", arguing that "all children deserve to be taught by qualified teachers."

Stephen Twigg MP, Labour’s Shadow Education Secretary, said: "While we welcome more professionals coming into teaching there need to be clear safeguards and ensure there is adequate training capacity in schools. If there are issues with teacher training and development, they should be addressed head on, not avoided.

"These kind of announcements should be presented to Parliament, not sneaked out hours before the Olympics opening ceremony."

Read the original story at The Telegraph

The points-based system upon which grades are assigned points which contribute to a tally designed to meet university course targets are to be scrapped and replaced with a weighted system.

This follows on from criticism of the present system by Universities Minister David Willetts, who claimed that it was "unfair" that an A-grade in scientific subjects were worth the same as an A-grade in a vocational or artistic subject.

The move has been welcomed within the Further Education sector. Malcolm Trobe, deputy general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, which represents head teachers, said: "Doing away with the tariff means that universities will have to look more closely at the content, knowledge and skills that students gain with each qualification, rather than relying on a somewhat crude points score."

However, there are some who believe that this will lead to the narrowing of the subjects taken as certain vocational subjects are seen as 'less worthwhile' than others. With many universities already requiring certain subjects as a requirement for entry, it remains as-yet unclear whether this is simply a farther stratification technique in addition to higher fees and private universities

A UCAS spokesman said: "One of the key aims of the UCAS qualifications information review was to review how effective the tariff and other approaches are in meeting the needs of learners, institutions and other stakeholders to enable fair, transparent and efficient admissions to higher education."

"There is widespread support for clear qualification and grade-based entry requirements and offers for applicants, though no decision has been made yet on the future of the UCAS tariff."

Read the original story at The Telegraph.

The University of Northampton has teamed up with Facebook and online survey tech provider Toluna to relaunch their newly integrated student portal.

Delia Heneghan, Director of Marketing at the University, said: “Changes to top-up fees has meant the higher education market has become increasingly competitive.

"Meanwhile, the Government’s recent Higher Education White Paper emphasises the need to put students first and at the heart of the system, which is something we already strive to do at Northampton.

"Crucially it will also establish a new channel of communication with parents, advisors and alumni.”

It is expected that this integration will allow users to become more familiar with the student portal and reduce strain on the face-to-face aspects of student provision.

The move also allows Northampton to piggyback on Facebook's computing power, relocating its 14000 students onto a system designed to cope with 100 million daily.

Read the original story at The National Student

Clearing, the last minute search for university places for students who either missed grades or neglected to place an original application, is not usually expected to featured the elite research institutions of the upper end of the rankings. But in the wake of higher tuition fees, some are expected to participate in the scramble for the first time.

One head of a research-intensive university has said: "The reason research universities will be in Clearing is that they don't know if they will get their AAB students and, even if they do attract them, they don't know if they will keep them."

Overall applications to British universities are down 7.7%, with three institutions suffering a fall of more than 20%. Ucas figures tell us nothing about the quality of applications, but they do suggest subjects that might be vulnerable, such as non-European languages, which have seen a drop of 20.8%, and technologies, down 17.6%.

It is expected that clearing will offer the greatest insight into the changes within the HE sector since the introduction of the higher fees. This could potentially mean danger for smaller institutions, with one vice chancellor saying that "universities could have some very serious cashflow problems very quickly indeed. And it's not just one year. It's a cumulative hit."

Read the original story here

Business Secretary Vince Cable has announced 4230 placements will be funded in a £25m higher apprenticeships initiative, saying that they would help sectors tackle skills shortages and boost participation by under-represented groups like women. Employers such as British Airways, Siemens, Price Waterhouse Cooper, Unilever and the UK Space Agency are involved in the scheme.

Participants are able to pursue degree-level study while getting paid. Priority is being given to industries that are projected to incur a skills shortage before 2030. For example, it is estimated that between now and 2030 European airlines will need to recruit 92,500 new pilots. Over the next four years, the government also says the UK will need to train 96,300 engineers just to replace those due to retire.

Neil Carberry of the Confederation of British Industry CBI director for employment said: "Future skills shortages in key sectors could hold back our economic performance, so boosting higher level apprenticeships now is the right thing to do. Sectors like high technology and science-based advanced manufacturing and IT are a good place to start."

Vocational body City & Guilds will provide higher apprenticeships for commercial pilots, and director Simon Witts said they would offer "a more affordable, accessible route to a recognised qualification".

Read the original article here

Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC), in conjunction with De Montford University in Leicester, have teamed together to offer what is thought to be the first corporate degree course.

The fast-food chain has invested nearly £1m in the venture that will see fully qualified business managers with degrees graduating by 2017.

The company will fund half of the three-year course while staff, who will continue to work 45-hours a week during their studies, will have to pay the remaining £4,500. Students will attend 12-14 sessions at De Montfort, but KFC's own long-established training courses will also count towards the degree.

Professor David Wilson, DMU deputy vice-chancellor and dean of business and law, adds: “At De Montfort University, we pride ourselves on our ability to adapt our skills and services to match the needs of business.” It has previously delivered a course for the Norfolk Constabulary.

Read the original article at The Telegraph

Universities Minister David Willetts has criticised graduate employers for the lack of breadth of talent in their university recruitment process. Willetts offered particularly heavy criticism in his speech, given in Central London, toward those who recruit and prioritise candidates from just six particular universities.

Willetts advocated the usage of the HEAR (Higher Education Achievement Report) qualifications, which are in the process of being rolled out in dozens of UK universities, a qualification which takes into account more than the pass mark; it acknowledges a student's contribution to extra-curricular and personal development during the educational phase.

Said Willetts:"sometimes you find employers who complain that they can’t find the graduates they’re looking for and how incredibly difficult it is to track them downn You talk to them and discover they’re looking at about six universities and they don’t spread their gaze beyond that. That is to miss out on a large amount of graduate talent."

Willetts was responding on behalf of the government in response to a report investigating the links between higher education and business. The government has largely accepted the report, chaired by Professor Sir Tim Wilson of University of Hertfordshire, and its findings.

Other calls made by the report are the expansion of four-year “sandwich courses” in which students spend 12 months in the workplace to gain vital industry experience and boost their long-term job prospects. It was claimed that student tuition fees should be cut to just 15 per cent of normal levels during the year out to ease the burden on undergraduates.

More than 75% of graduate recruiters now require an upper-second class (2:1) degree as a minimum standard of entry for positions created by 200 of the leading graduate employers.

The firms surveyed, including Accenture, Deloitte, Marks & Spencer and Rolls-Royce, revealed that there was a mean of 73 candidates chasing each vacancy, up from 30 applicants per job before the recession.

Carl Gilleard, chief of the Association of Graduate Recruiters, who commissioned the survey, believes that "it's to do with the significant increase in the number of applications that businesses have been receiving. When you're recruiting 100 graduates – and multiply that by 70-odd applications per job – you've got a significant logistical challenge."

Furthermore, Gilleard says that "the graduate job market is inextricably linked to business confidence. It is encouraging to see that employers are still talent-planning for the future and that the number of graduate vacancies is remaining constant."

Commenting on the AGR survey, Nicola Dandridge, chief executive of the vice chancellors' umbrella group, Universities UK, said: "There have been some very bleak headlines for graduates over recent years, so it is encouraging now to see real signs of recovery. Employers are investing in graduates, which is good news for them and for current students.

"Average starting salaries for graduates are higher than predicted and we are seeing a return to stability in terms of the number of graduate vacancies. This follows three years of flat salaries and fewer graduate opportunities."

Read the original story in The Guardian

Schools have "anti-learning culture", says Chief Schools Inspector

Blaming absent fathers, police caution rates, and levels of teenage pregnancy, Sir Michael Wilshaw, the chief schools inspector has lambasted an 'anti-learning culture' he believes prevalent among the working class.

"There once was real respect for education", sniffed Wilshaw. "We need to bring back ambition to communities that lack aspiration," he added. "Schools too often have to pick up the pieces where society has failed."

Taking aim at fathers, Wilshaw says ""Dads need to see bringing up children as the right and manly thing to do. All these issues can have a direct impact on educational outcomes. Young people need boundaries set by parents and society, not just their schools."

This came as part of a speech at the National College for School Leavers, at which Wilshaw touted a new review of urban education standards which would come up with "radical recommendations" to combat the "deep-seated"problems of disadvantage.

Read the original article in The Independent

The amount of teenagers staying in education after high school has fallen for the first time in 10 years, with a comparable rise in the the amount of 16-18 year olds considered 'NEET' - Not In Edication, Employment, or Training.

This represents the first time since 2001, just before Labour's introduction of fees for university students, that this figures has fallen.

Tim Loughton MP, Childrens' Minister, said that the figures had been "too high for too long", and the the issue was "now new."

The Shadow Minister for the young, Karen Buck, argues that the recession "made in Downing Street" should be held as the reason, and that as a result of the cuts "long term youth unemployment has doubled in the last year."

These cuts have also angered Chris Keates, general secretary of the NASUWT teaching union, who pins the blame squarely on the removal of Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA), a monthly stipend for sixth-form students.

"Removing this funding prevented thousands of our most disadvantaged young people from accessing further education and, combined with the hike in university tuition fees and cuts to the careers service, has effectively locked out a generation from gaining the skills and opportunities they need to succeed."

Read the original article in full in The Independent

How best to assess the suitability for teaching? A Commons Select Committee feels that it may have come up with a radical suggestion - allowing would-be teachers to host lessons whilst still students.

Wastage rates have recently become a concern for MPs, with only 52% of qualified teachers remaining within the profession after five years.

The emphasis on participation rather than witnessing is one that the Education Committee is keen to stress: "We would envisage extensive availability of 'teaching-taster' sessions for both sixth-formers and undergraduates," the report recommends, adding that the taster session "must feature actual teaching alongside the classroom teachers and not just 'observation' or being a 'teaching assistant'".

Also under consideration in the report was the idea of sabbaticals for the brightest teachers to gain extra qualifications, to publish, and to give them space to encourage them to stay within the profession for longer.

Read the original story in The Independent.

"There was no golden age of education. It felt good then because we were only concerned about the education of a minority of children. If it feels bad now, it is because we consider ourselves accountable for the education of every one of them."

These were the words spoken by Russell Hobby, leader of the National Association of Head Teachers in response to Education Secretary Michael Gove and his assertions that educational standards in the 1950s were better than their contemporary equivalent.

Mr. Gove has long made no secret of his desire to return to a form of education which emphasises the positive aspects of British history, claiming that "I don't believe it's necessarily propagandistic to have a national curriculum broadly sympathetic to our past and our values."

Hobby has asserted that whilst in the 1950s only 49% of people met the required standard in reading and writing, the contemporary equivalent is 82%. "Of course, we need to help the 18 per cent," Mr Hobby said, "but the way to do it is by helping build their character and confidence not by castigating what has happened. That will send us backwards not forwards."

Read the original article at The Independent.

Recent graduates have offered damning criticism to UK universities and their approach to student employability, despite the graduate unemployment rate standing at a record high 18.9% in the final quarter of 2011.

With universities being forced by law to reveal how many of their graduates are finding employment, it was hoped that many institutions would learn to 'up their game' with regards to careers advice. However, many graduates have complained that the advice is too generalised, and that industry-specific advice is needed to aid students coming from such a wide range of academic areas.

Eleanor Keyhoe, head of employability at Greenwich University, argues that a sufficient amount is being done: "the whole curriculum is designed to help students to develop the skills employers value. Final-year creative-writing students are also offered careers advice within their main academic timetable and the chance to meet guest speakers from television and other creative industries."

Though other institutions have put into place schemes which appear to boost their work in the employability aspect of delivering Higher Education, graduates still feel short-changed. Martin Pennington of the Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Services (AGCAS) believes that a personalised service is "unrealistic", though alongside the increase in fees that diversification is a factor that "is no longer something [universities] can avoid".

Read the original story at The Guardian

The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) have linked up with several leading UK employers across the private and public sector to promote a fundamental change in the way that employers engage with potential employees.

CIPD's director of public policy, speaking to HR Magazine, said that "we need a step change in the relationship and level of engagement between employers and young people. But we also need to move beyond constant complaining about the shortcomings of 'the youth of today', to real, practical, sleeves-rolled-up engagement by employers to boost the employability and job prospects of young people."

This initiative is backed by awards and recognition bodies such as City and Guilds, the Prince's Trust, the Education and Employers Taskforce, the UK Commission for Employment and Skills and the IPPR, whilst the employers' side is represented by companies as varied as Deloitte, Nestlé, & O2, with NHS Employers representing the private sector.

CIPID's skills policy advisor Katerina Rüdiger offered a stark warning against not taking this initiative seriously in the long term by saying "failure to rise to these challenges risks doing lasting damage to the global competitiveness of UK firms and the ability of the UK to attract investment and global firms to these shores."

Read the original article in HR Magazine

Ex-Labour minister Alan Milburn, now social mobility advisor to the sitting Liberal Democrat Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, has warned that entrants to professional careers were coming from 'too narrow' a background in a report published today.

Speaking to Radio 4, Milburn said that "there's a series of barriers that, maybe inadvertently, the professions put in the way of those with ability and aptitude from a variety of backgrounds getting even the first foot career on the ladder into the professions. It's partially about how they provide work experience opportunities, internships, their recruitment processes, where they recruit from."

The key findings of the report were:

• Efforts to raise career awareness and aspiration in schools are "too sporadic and too unspecific"
• Too many employers are recruiting from "too narrow a range of universities and regions"
• Work experience and internships are becoming more important to job prospects, but they are "still a lottery"
• Selection processes for careers are still "too haphazard"
• The graduate grip on the labour market is "still strong".

The report, published under the auspices of Milburn's role as governmental advisor, claims that "the senior ranks of the professions are a closed shop. If social mobility is to become anything other than a pipedream they will have to open up. Unfortunately, the evidence collected for this report suggests that there is only, at best, limited progress being made in prising open the professions."

Labour, the party of opposition, believe that under the Coalition government, social mobility has 'gone backward'.

Read the original BBC article at BBC News.

2013 will see the expansion of the recently-created scheme known as University Technical Colleges (UTC) - institutes in partnership with local manufacturing and technical enterprise which bypass Local Educational Authority control and provide skills-orientated employability and practical skills training.

In the East of England alone, three new UTCs will be opened: in Cambridge, Harlow, and in Norwich. The UTC website ( claims that "a fundamental principle of UTCs is that they do not judge students on their past performance. Students are given new opportunities and new ways of learning which allow them to achieve to a higher level than they may have done before."

Prior to the unveiling of the first UTC, John Bangs, head of education at the NUT, feared that this could lead to reintroducing widespread selection at 14. "Academies and UTCs are predicators of the kind of pessimism that kids are forever destined for one or other route. It sorts the sheep from the goats, which I'm very opposed to."

The government, however, believe that this route offers a way forward in plugging the skills gap and bolstering the manufacturing sector. Robert Halfon, MP for Harlow, added that "this will mean millions of pounds of new investment for Harlow as well as jobs and regeneration."

Read the full article at BBC News:

"Students should be more demanding - and academics should demand more from students." This quote from Dr. Paul Ramsden at the Institute of Education, University of London, was how a roundtable discussion between education providers, student bodies, and prospective students was initiated.

Others demurred. Jim Dickinson of the National Union of Students stressed that it was vital to tailor the student experience to individuals because different types of students had different priorities.

"If you ask someone who has just left home for the first time what is important to them, their answers will be completely different from [those of] a postgraduate studying part-time, who is perhaps worried about the quality of his course or speed of marking."

Craig Mahoney, chief executive of the Higher Education Academy, which champions teaching in the sector, thought that the fee rise would help to focus universities' attention on teaching rather than research.

"Every university in this country, even Oxford, gains a huge amount of its income from teaching, so teaching should be a priority," he said.

full story in the Times Higher Education supplement

Just 4% of University heads consider regional focus upon employability and growth to be their priority, with many heads not considering geography at all as part of their remit.

Richard Muir, statistician at the Institute for Public Policy Research, is quoted as saying that "we have a very skewed economy. This regional imbalance and this inequality will be exacerbated by the public spending cuts that are taking place."

One of the few University heads who did believe that a regional focus was key was Newcastle University registrar John Hogan, who said that the city and university were like 'hand in glove', and that the institution should see themselves as a 'Univer-city'. Dr. Hogan continued: "if Newcastle closed, or Northumbria, Durham, Teesside or Sunderland [universities] closed, it would be a catastrophe for the local and the bigger region, because there's not a lot else going on in the North East."

Full story in Times Higher Education

The coalition government has unveiled plans to enable the universities that select prospective A-level students to determine the content of the A-level curriculum

Education Secretary Michael Gove has been quoted as saying that "universities should be able to determine subject content, and that they should endorse specifications, including details of how the subject should be assessed."

This would see a decreaed involvement from the public sector, as the Department for Education seeks to hand control to the tertiary education sector, in what is seen in some quarters as a greater privitisation of education. The NUT's Christine Blower has criticised the plans by saying: ""Yet again we see top down initiatives being brought into schools regardless of what the teaching profession may think. The NUT is very disappointed that Michael Gove has approached Ofqual without consulting the profession as well."

Farther criticism has been levied by the Million+ and 1994 Group of universitie lobby groups, which believe that the Russell Group would have an undue influence over the proceedings to suit their own purposes, stating that it is a "much more complex task than simply getting a few academics together".

Read the original article here.

A third of prospective employers told The Association of Graduate Recruiters most recent survey that they were unable to meet their recruitment target this year, because of the poor quality of applicants.

However, OraRuth Rother, writing in HR Magazine, has offered the claim that "previous experience within similar roles merely reinforces ingrained habits and patterns of behavior, which means those recruited from similar past roles" leading to low scores in assessments measuring adaptability.

The solution, for Rother, would be to measure not how much experience a candidate has in the field, but the suitability between the candidate and the corporate ethos and culture behind the company.

In place of CV sifting, "individually-tailored assessments can illustrate the degree of synchrony between individual behaviors and company culture, allowing employers to measure candidate suitability, long before the interview. In other words, they tell you the things about a graduate that do not appear on their Career Experience."

Read OraRuth Rother's article at HR Magazine

In a report published by universities think-tank Million+, which features newer institutions among its members, it is claimed that teaching plays a secondary role to the acquisition of research funding and ranking table position.

Teaching that Matters, authored by staff from the Centre for Developmental and Applied Research in Education at the University of Wolverhampton, calls for universities to maintain their focus upon culture and intellectual stimulus whilst broadening their remit to take in skills that expand abilities in the workplace.

To remedy this, proposals include more innovative teaching strategies, with the examples cited of history undergraduates at the University of Derby running a conference to deliver research papers; health students at Middlesex University working with users and carers to close the gap between theory and practice; and the University of Wolverhampton, students are e-champions and help their peers with ICT.

In the era of price hikes for degrees, the trends indicate that students not only demand more for their money, and arming the student with career skills offers seems to cauterise this wound.

Read Pam Tatlow's article in The Guardian

A release from the Office of National Statistics has revealed that in the final quarter of 2011, 35.9% of recent graduates from university were working in an unskilled position. This contrasts heavily with just over a quarter at the same time in 2010.

However, the statistics shows that these graduates are still in a better position than non-graduates, with 86% of all graduates were in work compared with 72.3% of non-graduates. Graduates also command a higher median income than non-graduates.

Brendan Barber, the TUC general secretary, said: "The recession has hit the job prospects of recent graduates but they are still nearly 20% more likely to be in work than people without degrees. A lack of high-quality jobs has forced more graduates into lower-skilled jobs over the last decade.

"Raising the skills of UK workers must be accompanied with an industrial strategy focused on boosting high-value industries such as manufacturing. Otherwise public investment in education and the talents of UK graduates will be wasted."

This comes at a time when the recent graduate population has expanded by over 400000. Geographically, London has the highest concentration, with 49% of the population of the capital having studied for a degree, up 15% since 2011. Scotland has the next highest proportion of graduates (40%), followed by the south-east (39%).

At the other end of the scale, less than 30% of those living in Northern Ireland, Yorkshire and Humberside and the West Midlands are graduates.

read the original at Guardian Money

The governmental review commissioned last year and conducted by Sir Tim Wilson is about to be published, and the expectation is further shake-up in the HE sector.

Wilson's remit to was to investigate ways in which university-business partnerships could enable the UK to become a world leader in such collaborations.

Wilson's main recommendation is that the regulation on unlimited places on degree courses that offer a year's work experience as well as a three year degree should be removed. Studies and interviews with industries have shown that employers feel students that have been thtough this process are more work-ready and therefore employable.

Furthermore, the review calls for FE colleges to gain the ability to award two-year foundation degrees in instances where the awarding institution has a strong link with local employment.

The review will also urge universities and senior policy makers to do more to help students appreciate the job opportunities within the SME sector and in self-employment.

Read the original article at the Guardian Higher Education Network

Leading accountancy firm Deloitte will not raise the minimum standard for entry to their graduate programme as they believe that it may disadvantage some students.

The standard, currently at a minimum of a 2:1 degree and 3 A-Levels at B or better, is thought to be easy to raise given the hyper-competitive nature of the graduate market.

Deloitte spokesperson Sarah Shillingford commented to HR Magazine that "while it is true that a solid academic background is necessary, we also place importance on the skills gained through work experience and extra-curricular activities."

"As a business, we recognise that we are only as good as our people, making it imperative that we make strenuous efforts to identify the talented individuals who can make a difference to our clients."

The firm employs 1000 graduates per year.

Professor Dame Wendy Hall, head of computer science at the University of Southampton and one of the leading lights behind the Semantic Web, has warned that a poor cultural perception of computer science is preventing girls from getting actively involved in the subject.

Hall said that ""We have never broken out of the 'toys for the boys' perception of computer science" and that things "could not get a lot worse."

The statistics from AQA seem to bear this claim out; Figures from the Higher Education Statistics Agency show that in 2004 women made up 19% of all students on undergraduate computer science degrees in the UK; by 2009, the most recent year available, that figure had fallen to 16%.

Separate statistics reveal that just 148 girls took the AQA exam board's computing A-level – seen as one of the most difficult computing A-levels – last summer, compared to 2,123 boys. Five years earlier, 3,628 boys and 297 girls took the exam.

Hall feels that instead of showing pupils how computers work, they were being taught about how to use a computer to produce spreadsheets, presentations and other documents. Hall said this had exacerbated the shortage of girls taking up computer science.

"Girls have been further put off by dumbing down computing to IT literacy ... They think that if they study computing they are going to become secretaries." read the original story in full at The Guardian

Researchers, writing in an essay in Studies in Higher Education, feel that there is a demonstrable 'faultline' between secondary and tertiary education. In particular, they say that young people develop a set of expectations about academic support as a result of their experience at school, but when they get to university, these expectations are shattered by what is on offer.

The 2011 Student Satisfaction Survey, conducted by the National Union of Students, found that only 68% of students felt content with the level of assessment and feedback on offer.

The authors, Chris Beaumont and Michelle O'Doherty of Edge Hill and Lee Shannon of Liverpool Hope, say universities should change their approach from isolated "events" of summative performance feedback to a continual "guidance process". This should include a greater emphasis on verbal and one-to-one interaction between tutor and student, they say. They also suggest that feedback should be standardised to a greater degree.

Mr Beaumont also said that the systems in place in secondary education were unlikely to change, and so "if schools won't change, then the alternative is for universities to treat the first term/year as a transition, an extended induction to teach students how to become self-regulated learners, not simply to demand it of them."

Read the full story online at Times Higher Education

In the six years from 2004/05, 101 British universities managed to make £50m - in library fines.

The top three universities in terms of total earned from their library fine system were the universities of Leeds, Manchester, and Wolverhampton - all of who made between £1.3m and £1.8m.

The institution with the lowest fines was Imperial College London, who received only £26,703.

The survey began as a response to a Freedom of Information request, where universities were asked to release information regarding total fines, the individual fines they levy, and the amount of books missing.

Bucks New University has the most missing books – 30,540, followed closely by Oxford University with 20,923 and the University of Kent with 19,613.

Read the original story in full at The Guardian

A survey of leading employers by recruitment agency Adecco has found that a strong track record in academia is not the key thing that industry seeks in potential graduate employees.

According to the survey, "employers now hold attitude and personality (91 per cent) in greater esteem than academic or even vocational qualifications (35 per cent) when assessing new recruits.”

Furthermore, Adecco's survey found that "Four in 10 said graduates lacked critical IT skills, while a quarter claimed recruits lacked basic literacy and numeracy."

Chris Moore, managing director of Adecco Group Solutions, argued that “financial acumen, communications techniques and a full appreciation of the attitude required to excel in the commercial world must now form a core part of curricula”.

Many have responded strongly to the survey, with one commenter remarking that employers need to "reconsider the value of employing only over-confident lunatics who are willing and able to tell you whatever you want to hear, i.e. that he/she is brilliant at everything,"

read the original article in full at Times Higher Education

Labour peer Lord Bhattacharyya has called upon the government to implement plans which would see a replication of the German system of academic partnerships with industrial entities.

Bhattacharyya, chair of the Warwick Manufacturing Group, has urged universities to "understand you can't just say, 'We'll get more foreign students, we'll increase fees'...The custodians of the knowledge base should be a critical part of growth in the UK, not in other countries."

The lord utilised the examples of German economy, such as "Siemens with the University of Berlin, BMW with Munich, Mercedes with Stuttgart" as successful partnerships between research institutions and major internation companies.

Business secretary Vince Cable has proffered a similar message, calling for an end to the 'whingeing of the City' whilst offering "advanced manufacturing, creative industries, higher education and professional services - and therefore less reliance on banking - from London to provincial Britain" as a potential solution.

Read the full story online at the Times Higher Education Supplement

Liam Burns, standing president of the National Union of Students, has warned that the more significant changes to higher education policy will occur "under the radar."

"The most damaging" of the proposals, Burns continued, will occur "without scrutiny from either the House of Commons or the House of Lords." The changes suggested by the coalition to which Burns refers includes a clause allowing the government to raise interest rates on student loans in line with those that are "commercially available".

Leading academics have weighed in on the debate, with Cambridge University Emeritus Professor Gillian Evans accusing the government of only delaying the plans, rather than cancelling them.

"If the government had truly turned against the reforms, she said, it "would have been trying to make political capital out of it, as it did when it announced a "pause" to the proposed reorganisation of the NHS in order to "listen" to concerns." Read the original story at the Times Higher Education Supplement online

Management of fees for postgraduate courses has been mismanaged and overlooked, according to the chairman of the Highed Education Commission.

Inquiry chairman Graham Spittle, chief technology officer at IBM, said: “It is an area that has been overlooked recently.

“With all the changes to undergraduate fees, we have really taken our eye off what is happening further up in postgraduate education.

“If you talk to vice-chancellors, most of them are very concerned about the increased undergraduate fees and its impact on postgraduate study. We will look at how it will affect postgraduate education”.

Postgraduate education provision was not a part of the recent coalition changes to undergraduate fees, which have seen courses triple in cost to the student, with many still in the dark over future plans for Masters and doctoral students.

“We urgently need a proper strategy for postgraduate education,” Dr Spittle said.

“This inquiry will conduct an evidence-based review of current provision and structures and set out what more the postgraduate system can do to facilitate innovation and deliver the research, knowledge exchange and skilled workforce required for continued success.” Read the original story at the Times Higher Education Supplement

Leading girls' school Wimbledon High is planning to hold a week-long event dedicated to teaching its pupils the value and coping mechanisms to deal with failure.

The headmistress, Heather Hanbury, said she wanted to show "it is completely acceptable and completely normal not to succeed at times in life."

Ms Hanbury told BBC News that she had placed a great emphasis on developing resilience and robustness among the girls since she arrived at the school four years ago. "The girls need to learn how to fail well - and how to get over it and cope with it," she said. "Fear of failing can be really crippling and stop the girls doing things they really want to do. The pupils are hugely successful but can sometimes overreact to failure even though it can sometimes be enormously beneficial to them."

These sentiments were shared by Girls' Day School Trust chief Helen Fraser, who said that "Resilience is so important in working life these days. Wimbledon High School is showing how making mistakes is not necessarily a bad thing, that it is fine to try - and fail - and then pick yourself up and try again - or as Samuel Beckett said, 'fail better'."

Sixty further-education (FE) colleges will, for the first time, receive direct governmental funding toward degree courses in a further shake-up of advanced education sector. The plans will now mean that 143 FE colleges will now receive extra degree places.

However, this will not make up for the reduction in university places, with the recent funding announcement that the temporary increase in places by 10000 will be discontinued, leading to a shortfall of over 19000 undergraduate places compared to Autumn 2011.

The Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), which considered the applications from several FE colleges and even an academy for over 36000 degree places, rejected bids from 24 additional FE colleges.

The government's White Paper, set out last summer, set out a vision of greater competition and fewer guarantees over funding, with the prospect of a wider range of providers offering degree courses.

But there has been continuing debate within government about how and when higher education legislation will be put forward - with suggestions that a higher education bill could be delayed

Read the original story at the BBC

Students looking to speed up their degrees by condensing a 3 year course into a 2 year stint may be undermining their desire to enter the jobs market. Industry experts claim this haste leaves many students without the time to perform necessary extra-curricular activities and work placements that make candidates stand out.

Carl Gilleard, chief executive of the AGR, said: "Employers predict two-year degrees will prove popular with students. However, employers do value graduates who have work experience, and those students that have undertaken a year in industry as part of a four-year degree."

This warning comes as the graduate jobs sector is set to shrink to 1.2%, after years of stagnation. Better news comes as the average graduate salary is set to increase by 4% to a mean of £26000.

However, in another blow for the vaunted employability factor associated with the two-year degree, many employers polled in a recent survey said that they had not even heard of them.

UCAS, the university admissions service for Great Britain and Northern Ireland, has announced a near 10% drop in the number of school leavers applying for undergraduate degree courses beginning in 2012.

Mary Curnas Cook, UCAS's chief executive, appealed for perspective, claiming that the downturn was as much to do with population changes as it was the coalition government's revamped and more expensive university tuition fees. These sentiments were echoed by the spokespersons for University umbrella groups Universities UK, The 1994 Group, and The Russell Group.

Sally Hunt of the Universities and Colleges Union was one of few industry voices to express caution at the downturn, saying that "Today's figures are very worrying and once again highlight the Government's folly in raising tuition fees to as much as £9,000 a year. Other countries are encouraging their best and brightest to get on, not putting up punitive barriers."

However, university chiefs seem largely satisfied that the changes will not alter student desire to attend higher education. Michael Farthing of Sussex University states that "the cuts to funding gave universities little option other than to increase fees and as a result many prospective students have obviously been wary of applying this year. While much good work has been done, it is clear that this message needs to be more widely understood."

read the original article at The Independent

The coalition government is set to shelve plans that would have allowed for the biggest shake-up of degree-providing institutions in the UK since the conversion of former polytechnics in 1992.

The Higher Education Bill would have relaxed regulation that prevents private colleges from forming new universities in the UK. Its defeat is being triumphed as a victory for pragmatism over ideology, with private colleges in the US being linked to high levels of student loan default and subsequent bankruptcy.

Andy Westwood of Guild HE says that the decision is purely political, claiming that such a bill "offers the opportunity for every critic in parliament, the media and the sector, to dig up the whole reform story again and to scrutinise every detailed change going back to Browne. And all this for relatively few further changes to higher education".

With American student debt set to reach $1 trillion in the coming decade, it is a situation that counterparts in the UK appear desperate to avoid.

Read the full story on Guardian Higher Education

Tom Davie, director of AGCAS (Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Services): "Universities have a role in offering work to our students. A good example of how this can be done comes from my own institution where an MA student in museum studies has been researching the history (and writing articles) on one of our listed buildings. The experience is mutually beneficial as the student gets to develop skills that will increase her employability while we get something extremely valuable work done."

Charlie Ball, deputy director of research as HECSU (Higher Education Career Services Unit): "The idea that you should have your 'dream' job soon after completing your studies. Careers don't work that way. Most of us don't know what we want to do when we leave education and it's only through a process of experience and, to some extent, trial-and-error that we work out what suits us. The idea that young people should be expected to have made a life-defining decision that they're then locked into for the next 45 years - and that institutions have let them down if they haven't - is insidious and unhelpful.

Elinor Edvardsson Stiwne, head of department, Linkoping University Center for Teaching and Learning: "My question is: have you in the UK managed to move on further from that attitude and integrate the work of different professionals in the common work of guiding and supporting students? If so, while still trying to solve the wider issues, you must celebrate that achievement."

Matthew Batstone, New College of the Humanities: "When I took up my current role - a careers person moving into educational development and curriculum design - there were just a handful of people around the country to connect with. Two years ago I convened a meeting for 'employability developers' and 30 people attended, there are now 330 plus people in the network; careers advisers, consultants, subject specialists and others. All of whom are interested in embedding employability in the curriculum. Institutions need to be able to find these people and make the most use of their skills to develop students."

Read the full document here (.pdf)

A Hampshire schoolgirl has hit the headlines after writing a rejection letter to Magdalen College, Oxford.

Elly Nowell, 19, of Winchester, wrote the tongue-in-cheek missive as a response to being at an interview and feeling "that subjecting myself to the judgement of an institution which I fundamentally disagreed with was bizarre."

Academics at the college, which celebrates its 564th birthday this year, were quick to dismiss the rejection, stating that ""Of the 10,000 interviews that we conduct over the course of the admissions period it is a very low number."

Nowell's letter follows on from last year's famous rejection of Cambridge University by Franklyn Addo, the Hackney-based teenager who opted for LSE over Cambridge - believed in some quarters to have been over the 'lack of a rap scene' - but later to have been confirmed as a desire to remain in the capital.

Regardless, this latest incident comes as a blow to the Oxbridge insitutions desperate to shake off an elitist image. Nowell now hopes to study at University College, London.

Read the full story online at the BBC.

"Optimising the egalitarianism of admissions procedures is a complex problem and not one that is experienced only by universities." So said Laura Spence in 2000, a comprehensive school student from Tyneside - and recipient of five A grades - on her rejection by Magdalene College, Oxford University.

A decade later, elite institutions such as Oxford and Cambridge retain the accusation that they are biased toward students from a state school background, routinely missing admissions percentages for students from this sector. Further to that, there remains the accusation of bias against students in economic poverty and those from diverse ethnic backgrounds.

This year, Churchill College of Cambridge University have given The Guardian unprecedented access to their admissions discussions and have found some interesting insights into the rationale of their selection policy.

Aside from the academic track record (A-levels), mix of subjects (students applying for sciences are encouraged to avoid arts subjects), and performance at the interview, other criteria are taken into account.

These criteria include the kind of school that the candidate came from, but not quite in the way one might typically assume; students from 'good schools' are "cut little slack", whereas a poorer school might be one of six 'flags' - used to indicate a potential problem area, such as difficulties within school, or even time spent in care.

Medical students at Cambridge are given an even more rigorous examination: "looking at the personal statement for medicine, it's important that they have a range of activities and, particularly, that they have done a serious level of volunteering."

Increasing amounts of graduates are finding it difficult to land a graduate job at companies that they do not already have experience working at.

In research published by the graduate recruitment research group High Fliers' Institute, more than a third of all graduate positions are taken by candidates with prior experience at the targeted company.

This news comes on the back of slow growth in the graduate jobs market, with some recovery, but no signs of a return to pre-financial collapse levels, with starting salaries remaining at the same level of £29000.

Speaking to the BBC, Martin Birchall, managing director of High Fliers, called the institute's findings a "stark warning to the Class of 2012 that in a highly competitive graduate job market, new graduates who've not had any work experience at all during their time at university have little hope of landing a well-paid job with a leading employer".

To read the report in full, click here (PDF).

Consumer champion Martin Lewis has warned that "the communication of tuition fees by all parties over the last few years is a national scandal."

Speaking to the Daily Telegraph, the Money Saving Expert website guru and newly-appointed Independent Taskforce on Student Finance Information, continued, claiming that the debates have "left us as a nation ill-equipped and uneducated about how this crucial and very different form of finance works."

Martin Lewis

"We need to start a war on this ignorance. After all, if students don't understand the true cost, how can they decide if it's worth it?"

2000 adults were quizzed on their knowledge of the fees system changes, with a quarter incorrectly believing that the money had to be provided up front.

English universities will be able to charge up to £9000 a year – almost three times the current amount.

Graduates will pay back loans when they earn £21,000 and make smaller monthly repayments than at present. Debts will also take much longer to clear but will be written off after 30 years. Mr Lewis said he was “no fan of the changes” and that the myths surrounding the practical finances of the system “may well end up more damaging to prospective students’ aspirations than the new fees themselves”.

For David Eastwood, vice-chancellor of Birmingham University and member of the panel that produced the Browne review on higher education funding, 2011 was a year when the private intricacies of education policy-making became the stuff of real public debate.

Eastwood, writing for The Guardian online, makes the claim that "there has never been a more contested environment in which to make higher education policy", given that throughout the first decade of this century, most opposition to the broadly state-funded system we have in place today was "sotto voce."

Though Eastwood believes that the new system will see "enhanced choice for some applicants", but warns that "the concentration on the fee issue has actually reduced financial aid and thus real support to poor students."

By way of offering a solution, Eastwood proposes "an emphasis on appropriate financial aid, promoting access, properly linking quality and price."

Cuts would theoretically be made to "Hefce's widening participation premium, which should now be superseded by all institutions' financial aid commitments in their access agreements."

According to Eastwood, the money saved in this action "should be repurposed to support stem (science, technology, engineering and maths) subjects, which are teetering on a new crisis."

Read the original story here

British students risk losing out on jobs in the developing global economy as they lack the correct 'mindset', according to Carl Gilleard, chief executive of the Association of Graduate Recruiters (AGR).

In the academic year 2009/10, Britain sent half as many students on overseas on ERASMUS years as European counterparts Spain, France, and Germany, in a report originally published in The Sunday Times.

“They are at risk of being left behind,” said Gilleard. “They need to take responsibility and get the message they will be working and living in a global marketplace."

“There is a lot they can do to become more culturally agile while at university, from studying overseas to taking a job placement abroad or doing a gap year ... They could also look for a place at a British university that offers an exchange programme overseas.”

Continuing on this theme, Gilleard claimed to “even have anecdotal evidence that some employers find graduates reluctant to move within the UK.”

Many attribute this parochiality to the dominance of English as the language of international business. Regardless, the AGR report suggests that this is not enough cultural capital to get on in the workplace. “Experience of working outside their home country and immersion in a different culture can catapult a graduate into being considered for rewarding roles”, said Gilleard.

Read the original article in The Sunday Times

75% of graduates rate their written communication as 'excellent' or 'very good', 63% of graduates claim that their verbal communication is of the same standard, whilst the amount of graduates who believe that they display worthy levels of creativity and leadership skills stands at 57%.

Employers, on the other hand, tend to rate their newly graduated charges a little less ebulliently, according to an Institute of Directors study, which claims that only 55% are pleased with the skills displayed by those recently graduated.

This report, originally published in the Times HE comes at a time when university is said to be ill-suited to prepare the student for the world of work. Indeed, only 20% of students feel that university has developed their entrepreneurial skills.

Jane Artess, director of research at HESCU (Higher Education Career Services Unit) claims that "research skills are very important in business", though has noted that "students are aware that their numeracy is not as strong as their literacy skills."

Read the original story at Times HE

Working against the trend of insititutional closures in the wake of the coalition government's austerity drive, social mobility organisation Aimhigher has elected to continue on in spite of losing nearly £80 million in state funds.

Speaking to Times Higher Education, National Union of Students (NUS) President Wes Streeting declared the decision to axe the funds as "absurd", citing the "strong, collaborative networks and an army of practitioners with knowledge, skills and experience that are desperately needed" among Aimhigher's core strengths.

Aimhigher have already scaled back their operation in terms of workforce and remit. Josie Hurd, the partnership's mentoring coordinator, stated that "I have schools which have the funding to take part, but others just can't get the funds."

"Schools have asked us to focus on the pre-16 (age group) to develop a pool of potential applicants."

These cuts come at a time when many Russell Group universities have been criticised for not meeting their Access targets.

In Greater London, regional-specific groups such as AccessHE have formed to provide a localised focus to university outreach, whereas a partnership created by four HE institutions in Birmingham sees 100 undergraduate mentors go into high schools to foster links with 500 pupils aged 14 and 15, though this is a downfall of 50% on the figures of 2009/10.

Read the original article at Times Higher Education

Mary Curnas-Cook, Chief Executive of the University Admissions Organisation, has told the BBC that applications for university entry in 2012 has displayed signs of a 'late surge.'

However, numbers remain down on previous years. By November of 2011, figures showed a near 13% drop in total admissions. The figures, correct up until December 2011, show that there is still a 6.4% reduction in like-for-like admissions from the previous year.

It is not only recent college-leavers contributing to the declining figures; students from outside of Britain, as well as mature students within the British Isles, are applying in reduced amounts.

Though Universities UK chief Nicola Dandridge remarked that "it is reassuring to see that the numbers of applications are recovering", she also issued the warning that "we will need to look closely at the January figures to see how they compare to last year, and specifically whether any particular groups of applicants have been affected by the changes to the funding system."

click here for the original article

Funding cuts in arts and humanities mean Liverpool Hope University will lose almost all of its undergraduate teaching budget. Its defiant vice-chancellor explains his survival plan to Jonathan Brown


What does the future hold for a small, self-styled liberal arts college in a higher education world where next year virtually all state funding for teaching in the arts, humanities and social sciences is set to disappear?

Speaking to The Guardian on 24th November 2011, Education Secretary Michael Gove commented that "we need to ensure our GCSEs and national curriculum are better aligned and critically they're better aligned so that our students have a better understanding of the linear narrative of British history and Britain's impact on the world and the world's impact on Britain."

These comments were made in response to the findings of Cardiff University's Professor Derek Matthews regarding the paucity in history undergraduate knowledge of British History, according to whom many believe incorrectly that Napoleon led the British forces at the Battle of Trafalgar.

For Gove, addressing this issue would "give people the chance to be proud of our past and, in particular, proud of the heroes and heroines that fought for freedom over time".

However, this contention was countered by Shadow Schools Minister Kevin Brennan, who argued that "the emphasis on studying history should not be placed on a particular narrative that has merely a political agenda", and that furthermore history tuition "needs to go beyond simply glorifying our past, so that students can critically engage with the past and understand how it affects them as individuals in the present."

Foreshadowing this, Gove claims that this "doesn't mean airbrushing out times when horrific things have been done."

This report comes at a time when the humanities are shown to be emerging from years in the doldrums, with a rise of 9% in candidates taking the History GCSE option between the years 2010 and 2013.

For the original story, visit:

By 8.30, 26 children – some of them only just old enough for school, some almost grown – are sitting in tight rows on the floor of a little inner room, reciting morning prayers in Arabic and in English. By 9.30, the conservatory has become an infant classroom, the dining room has been taken over by the juniors and in the living room, year 7 and 8 girls are preparing to spread their geography projects across the laminate flooring.

There's no doubting that the Manara academy is a most unusual educational institution.

English universities enjoy the greatest freedom from state interference in Europe, according to research.

The high levels of academic freedom, financial independence and decentralised admissions procedures in England are highlighted in an international study of institutional autonomy published this week by the European University Association.

The report, University Autonomy in Europe, compares 26 countries, assessing freedom in four areas: governance, finance, employment practices and academic matters.

Each country is scored in each area, with England the only nation to achieve a top-three finish in every category. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are not considered in the study.

Estonia, Finland, Denmark and Ireland also score well in several categories, while the highly centralised systems in France and Greece are bottom for both academic freedom and staff autonomy.

The freedom of individual English universities to choose their vice-chancellors and governing board, set staff salaries, manage their finances and create new courses without the approval of ministers or civil servants are cited as examples of strong autonomy.

However, the current government-imposed £3,375 tuition fee cap for domestic students, combined with student number controls, causes the UK to lose financial autonomy points and slip behind Luxembourg and Estonia in the rankings. The fee cap is set to rise to £9,000 next year, and does not apply to students from outside the European Union.

The status of academics in Greece and France as civil servants underpins heavy state involvement in staffing and finance matters in their universities, the report notes, resulting in poor autonomy scores.

Thomas Estermann, head of the EUA's governance, autonomy and funding unit and one of the report's authors, told Times Higher Education that studies have shown a "correlation between autonomy and excellence in terms of world rankings and league tables.

"But our aim was not to make this connection. Low levels of autonomy do not necessarily mean a bad higher education system. Other factors such as funding make a huge difference," he said. "We are aware that our [scorecard] approach is provocative, but we wanted countries to look outside their own borders [at what others are doing]."

By , Retail Editor

The standard of school-leavers is so poor that one supermarket has sent back three-quarters of its recruits for "remedial pre-job training" before they start work.

Morrisons, Britain's fourth-biggest supermarket with 135,000 employees, found that many of its applicants in Salford, Greater Manchester, lacked even the basic skills needed to stack shelves and serve customers.

While some had a poor grasp of maths and English, others lacked simple skills such as turning up on time and making eye contact.

Norman Pickavance, the human resources director of Morrisons, said: "Many of the people were just not job ready. They lacked a lot of confidence and social skills. It is quite clear the education system has failed them.

"Whatever the environment has been at school, it has not been conducive to instilling basic skills. It is a crying shame."

The warning will fuel concerns that schools are failing to teach the skills necessary for young Britons to find jobs, forcing firms to recruit migrant workers instead.

The number of unemployed 16-to-24-year-olds now stands above one million, with one in five people in the age group now categorised as "Neets" – not in education, employment or training.

When Morrisons drew up plans for a new store in the employment black spot of Ordsall, Salford, it promised to give jobs to local youngsters.

Of the 210 staff who will start work when the store opens tomorrow, half left school with not a single GCSE to their name.

Morrisons sent back 150 of them for three to six months of remedial training including refresher courses in literacy and numeracy.

Some learnt customer service skills at Salford College while others were sent to Create, a social enterprise where "excluded" individuals practice working in a not-for-profit café and call centre.

Garry Stott, the chairman of Create, said: "Can these people read? Yes, they can. Can they write? That's more of a challenge. With maths most people have the basic skills but they struggle with the confidence to use it."

The University of Manchester’s poor performance in league tables measuring student satisfaction is mainly because “a small proportion of staff do not think that students are important”, according to Vice Chancellor Nancy Rothwell.

The Vice Chancellor went on to say that any staff “who don’t like students should not be here, because students are fundamental to this university”.

Full story at:

£18.7m from the Higher Apprenticeship Fund will support sectors including construction, advanced engineering, and financial services. The Higher Apprenticeship Fund will support thousands of apprenticeships up to degree equivalent, enabling employers, colleges and universities to deliver the advanced skills most critical for growth.

More than five students were competing for each spare university place by midday, Ucas figures showed.

Vice-chancellor attacks 'poorly timed' government closure of scheme as steep rise in tuition fees looms.

Government policy surrounding careers advice services for young people has been described as "disastrous" in an academic report.

 The report by the University of Derby says current policy "is having a potentially disastrous impact on the careers profession".

Data collected from 144 local authorities revealed that only 15 will maintain what the researchers termed as a "substantial" universal careers service. They identified 12 councils as making extreme cuts to Connexions services and at least 49 as reducing or removing the universal careers element of the Connexions service. At least 105 councils have reduced staffing levels and 50 have closed Connexions centres.

Careers Work with Young People: Collapse or Transition?

Seven universities are set to accelerate plans to scrap the UK's honours degree-classification system by replacing it with the US grade-point average model. The group, which includes six Russell Group institutions but not the universities of Oxford and Cambridge, has held a series of informal discussions on introducing GPA.


A large-scale survey has revealed a wide discrepancy between graduate earnings and what students expect to be paid after they finish university.


New research from the Institute of Leadership & Management and Ashridge Business School reveals a worrying disconnect between graduates’ expectations and those of their employers.  Based on feedback from over 1,200 graduates and almost 700 managers, the report – ‘Great Expectations: Managing New Graduates’ – looks into what graduates want from work and what employers expect from them.

In future, graduates will pay more towards the cost of their degrees, but – in return – the Government's proposals will improve their experience as students, expand their choices and make universities more accountable to students than ever before.

People have been left wondering where 35% of the Wigan poulation have gone to.  On Tuesday 5th July 2011 at around 2.15 p.m.,  people were going about their normal business as usual.  A blinding light came down from the sky along with the sound of large trumpets blasting, and people were taken up to the sky.  Rumour has it this was the RAPTURE that has now taken place for all believers in Jesus Christ.

Universities will be able to enter a bidding war for high-flying A-level students under the most radical reform of higher education for decades.

Universities will be able to enter a bidding war for high-flying A-level students under the most radical reform of higher education for decades.


 The plans, published in a Government White Paper yesterday, also give the green light to more private firms to set up degree courses.


The country's most sought-after universities will be allowed to expand their student numbers to take in as many youngsters as they want who have two A-grades and a B-grade at A-level. In all, 65,000 places – about 18 per cent of the annual undergraduate intake – will be allocated this way. Universities offering cheaper degree courses – charging less than £7,500 a year – will also be able to recruit extra students, up to a maximum of 20,000 a year.


The average graduate starting salary is expected to increase for the first time in two years, a report has predicted – but graduates face more competition for jobs.

Pilot scheme provides detailed reports of students' abilities including module results and extra curricular achievements

Many vocational business qualifications are failing to develop pupils' understanding and skills in the subject, inspectors have warned. Ofsted said 30 of 39 English schools whose vocational business courses it inspected had a "serious problem".

Up to half of five-year-olds are not ready for school as working parents increasingly abandon traditional games, nursery rhymes, bedtime stories and lullabies, according to research.

Research reveals startlingly high numbers of boys and girls have no books of their own, with worrying implications for their future prospects

David Willetts says he aims to de-regulate higher education. But though there may be increased market competition, there will still be plenty of regulation and control, says Roger Brown

Plenty of university students have stashed the odd traffic cone or road sign in their room.

But at Oxford, it seems, they like to go one better.

Creationism, intelligent design and other theories that contradict evolution are to be banned from being taught as science in free schools.

David Willetts today hit out at the university entry system for awarding points to "pony care" and music courses, but not to apprenticeships. The Universities Minister said he wants to see apprenticeships - particularly those that are equivalent to A-levels - recognised to make it easier for youngsters who take up the courses to go on to higher education.

Plans to overhaul the university admissions system could destroy the accuracy of A-level grades, experts have warned. Pupils currently apply for university courses on the basis of the grades their teachers predict they will achieve.

Under Government proposals, from 2014 they will apply after they have received their results.

British universities are failing to provide students with enough lecture and tutorial time, according to David Willetts

Seasoned students reveal the things they wish they had known right at the start

More and more students are taking their degrees at further education colleges. What do they have that universities don't?

A report published by the Department for Education has investigated higher education institutions’ (HEIs) approach to subject-based Diplomas as entry qualifications. Diplomas were introduced in schools in England and Wales in September 2008 and are offered at three levels.

 The survey conducted between November 2009 and February 2010 examined HEIs’ understanding of diplomas, their admissions practices and levels of applications from Diploma students. A representative sample of 19 HEIs was identified, where the HEIs offered degree programmes in subjects where there was alignment to one or more of the first ten Diploma subject areas.,FP72,WEW15,19QHH,1

The European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training (Cedefop) has published a report which reviews the evidence on the economic and social benefits of vocational education and training (VET).

The report assesses the wider benefits of VET, from both the employer and the individual point of view. It explores how VET is translated into improvements in job quality and job satisfaction as well as the factors that constrain or facilitate this process in the workplace,FP72,WEW15,19QHH,1

Greater investment in skills by employers is vital if the UK is to achieve the sustained private sector-led recovery sought by the government, according to a recent report from the Learning and Skills Network (LSN).,FP72,WEW15,19QHH,1

Pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds are being penalised by a university admissions system that unduly rewards early applicants, according to new research. Three academics at Warwick University claim that the British system is unfair and inefficient when it comes to allocating places

Ministers "significantly" underestimated the number of universities which will charge maximum £9,000 tuition fees, a Government spending watchdog has found.

Finding employment after studying can be a daunting prospect, to help students with the first step NUS has teamed up with the UK's leading business organisation to give an in-depth guide to gaining employability skills.

By Sean Coughlan BBC News education correspondent

Click to play

At the beginning of the last century, the power of nations might have been measured in battleships and coal.

In this century it's as likely to be graduates.

In this economic climate, with such high rates of graduate unemployment, should school leavers give far greater consideration to vocational qualifications?

Government policies are threatening the dominance in Europe of British universities

University lecturers' leader says coalition is 'fundamental threat', undermining work done in further and higher education

Six months after leaving university, about 40% of last year's graduates were "underemployed" in lower-skilled jobs, up from about 30% four years before.

A primary school deputy head has been sacked after she and a teaching assistant carried a boy of six into school when he refused to leave the playground.

Malcolm Gillies has spent much of his career supporting arts and humanities, but says that London Metropolitan University must now deal with present realities. Employability will be key.

About 100 years ago, higher education restructured to meet the needs of the industrial age. It has changed little since, even as the internet has transformed life. Another revolution is needed to modernise universities and prepare graduates for a 21st-century working environment.

The researchers, though, say it's a myth that bright poor children lose their talent as they develop

Teaching is a vital profession that needs to be respected, rewarded – and done properly, says Katharine Birbalsingh.

Middle class students will pay at least £2,700 more in university tuition fees to subsidise those from low income families – even if they go on to earn much less in later life.

Academic internships are three-way partnerships among an institution of higher education, the intern­ship site, and the student. They have an irreplaceable role in the liberal arts by providing hands-on learning opportunities, allowing students to collaborate closely with faculty, and strengthening ties between the college and the community.

University technical colleges are being heralded as the answer to all education's problems, but we need to look carefully at what their impact will be, says Estelle Morris

Even with backers among the faculty, e-portfolio initiatives can be slow to take hold across university and college campuses. What does it take to encourage adoption? One professor who's championing a faculty-driven e-portfolio initiative at the University of Cincinnati shares some of his insights.

Some 'radical ideas' circulating in higher education are anything but, says Paul Wakeling, so pay them no attention because they're not going to happen

The sensible policy on tuition fees has been fatally compromised by Vince Cable.

Our proposals won't just save money, they'll provide students with universities that are well funded and focused on teaching

Children's behaviour has worsened over the past five years, according to a survey of teachers which found that a fifth thought girls were more likely to cause trouble than boys.

When it comes to the market for overseas students, British institutions cannot continue to make assumptions about the enduring prestige of their degrees

When it comes to the market for overseas students, British institutions cannot continue to make assumptions about the enduring prestige of their degrees

Firm run by Chris Woodhead is accused by group of parents at London school of putting money before children

The art schools that trained students from Tracey Emin to MIA are heavily targeted for cuts. What effect will that have on tomorrow's artists?

Professor warns up to third of 16 to 19-year-olds on courses that do not lead to jobs or training schemes

"A true bubble is when something is over-valued and intensely believed. Education may be the only thing people still believe in in the United States.To question education is really dangerous. It is the absolute taboo. It's like telling the world there's no Santa Claus."

When is a strike not a strike? The answer may be when no one notices your absence.  After recent industrial action by the University and College Union, a union representative at the University of Nottingham wrote to members urging them to register their absence with managers in case they had not been missed.

Dozens of further education colleges will offer degrees for less than £6,000 a year from 2012-13, while from the following year private providers may be able to charge £9,000 backed by state funding, it has emerged.

The world's leading thinkers regard the UK as having better universities than any other country apart from the US, a league table shows

Accountancy firm PwC has taken on 209 new graduates this April, the highest ever number to join through its annual Spring intake

New models of degree provision that offer undergraduates a fast track to jobs in accountancy through partnerships with major employers could soon be extended to collaborations with smaller firms.

• Willetts holds to claim that most will charge £6,000
• Student numbers may have to be cut as fees rise

Connexions, the youth careers advice service, is being closed down and will not be replaced until September

Students from poor backgrounds are being excluded from the “hour-glass” jobs market after being pushed into taking worthless qualifications at school, according to research published today.


The Guardian has launched an online forum for higher education professionals, offering advice and career guidance, and a place to discuss the challenges facing the sector.

David Willetts says some universities mislead students with courses not valued by employers 

Some graduates could end up paying back double their original student loans under the new fees system in England, figures calculated for the BBC suggest.

A new proposal to allow college lecturers to teach in schools is highlighting the inequality in pay and conditions between schools and FE

Employers are worried about new rules on the number of hours that apprentices must spend being taught

The student fees policy is absurd. Higher education should kick its addiction to state cash and call the coalition's bluff

The extent to which schools are inflating their results with “easier” vocational qualifications is laid bare in damning new figures published today.

The rise of equal rights for women has left working-class men struggling to get on in life, according to David Willetts, the Universities Minister.

The climbdown on EMAs reveals ministers' poor grasp of their own policies, and their desire to push costs on to individuals


Steve Smith warns that downbeat media theme will damage UK global reputation. Claims that the UK government is cutting funding for higher education are "not factually accurate" and gloomy media coverage is damaging the sector's reputation overseas, according to the president of Universities UK.

Lord Browne of Madingley would feel "sad as a citizen" if the higher education system needed changing again in two or three years because it was deemed unsustainable. The author of last year's landmark review of higher education funding told a cross-party panel of MPs that the system he proposed had been designed to be cost-effective for the public purse, and it remained to be seen if the government's policy would achieve that goal.

The Quality Assurance Agency has launched a full investigation into the impact of course closures on students at the London College of Communication. It is the first such inquiry to be conducted under the QAA's revised "whistleblower" process for investigating concerns about academic standards and quality. It follows the closure of 16 courses and 26 full-time equivalent redundancies at the institution, which is part of the University of the Arts London.

Vice-chancellors must 'rethink their mission' instead of opting for big fee increases, says business secretary Vince Cable

Staff at Darwen Vale comprehensive claim headteacher is not consistent in dealing with bad behaviour

A university vice-chancellor has called for an expansion in the number of student places to drive down the amount they charge in tuition fees.

Middle class A-level students at private schools can be discriminated against by universities which want to attract poorer children, a Government minister has suggested.

Leeds Metropolitan has become the first of the newer group of universities to officially announce its new fee level.

Government wants to penalise graduates who pay off student loans early – and raise interest rates above RPI

Ministers were today warned of a looming university funding crisis after Essex became the latest institution to announce flat rate tuition fees of £9,000.

Universities across England are facing large cuts to their funding according to figures from Hefce out today. Which universities are worst affected?

Universities in England are facing cuts of 12% - before funding changes linked to student fees come in, according to figures from their funding body.

New Resource

Learning to be Professional through a Higher Education e book

Assessing the Complexity of Professional Achievement

Mantz Yorke


Circular letter 05/2011 Funding for universities and colleges for 2010-11 and 2011-12

Select committee calls on Gove to think again about encouraging all pupils to study traditional subjects

Recent research by the National Foundation for Educational Research makes some salient points about professional learning in our schools.

Scottish universities have indicated for the first time the level of tuition charges they think could be introduced.

Study shows little difference in work prospects for poorer children who attend grammar schools and comprehensives

Unpublished research commissioned by the Browne Review showed that students and parents viewed tuition fees of £6,000 as "the highest reasonable amount" and feared that variable fees would deter poor students from high-priced courses and universities.

Vocational education for 14-19 year olds should serve the purpose of creating and maintaining opportunities for all young people. This review makes a number of detailed recommendations to that end.

Review attacks qualifications such as 'personal effectiveness', which teaches teenagers how to claim unemployment and use a phone

Extra money 'needed to meet the higher expectations of students and fund places for the less well-off'

Universities have been told to limit tuition fees to just £6,000 for students taking arts and humanities degrees.

Peter Wilby speaks to Kenneth Baker, who has an ambitious plan to revolutionise education with new university technical colleges

Isabel Nisbet, outgoing chief the Ofqual qualifications watchdog, argues that GCSEs and A-levels will become "invalid" for digitally native pupils if writing materials are retained.

There are certain types of questions you get asked a lot when you are the chief executive of the qualifications regulator Ofqual. As today is officially my last day in the job, I can answer them pretty bluntly writes Isabel Nisbet.

Figures show 15.6% of 16-24 year-olds were 'neets' at end of last year, as thinktank warns young people's unemployment likely to rise to 1.2m in next five years

Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg loses Dr title after he admits making serious errors by submitting unoriginal work for university thesis

Proportion of students in work to be revealed, but heads fear plans may lead to another league table

The new arrangements for higher education funding mean that the active involvement of students at all levels of university development and decision making will become even more important in the future, Sir Alan Langlands, Chief Executive of HEFCE told a conference today. Speaking at the annual Dearing Higher Education Conference at the University of Nottingham, Sir Alan said it was essential that work on quality improvement in higher education satisfied present and future students, and that concerns in Parliament and the wider public were properly addressed.

Labour is poised to reverse one of the most controversial decisions taken as Prime Minister by Tony Blair over its schools policies. Andy Burnham, education spokesman, plans to "look again" at rejected proposals to scrap the GCSE and A-level system and replace it with an overarching diploma covering both academic and vocational qualifications. A-level and vocational qualifications such as engineering and healthcare would be recorded side-by-side as part of a new diploma certificate.

Supermarkets claim voucher schemes are helping cash-strapped schools; cynics believe the chains are simply boosting their profile

The term open educational resources (OER) encapsulates the simple but powerful idea that the world's knowledge is a public good. The internet offers unprecedented opportunities to share, use and reuse knowledge. Sadly, most of the planet is underserved when it comes to post-secondary education.

Efforts to encourage more UK students to study abroad appear to be failing, with the country retaining the worst outbound-inbound student ratio in Europe. According to data from the Academic Cooperation Association, the UK still sends just one student abroad for every 20 who come to the UK to study for a degree.

By focusing on behaviour management, a select committee report misses a real opportunity to support behavioural change in vulnerable children

When students of John Halpin, a chemistry professor at New York University, went online to express what they thought of him through the increasingly popular website, he did not take it lying down.

The University of Gloucestershire has appointed a senior official at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills as its new vice-chancellor.

It is one of the best kept secrets in academia, but the time has come for the unearned Master’s degree at Oxford and Cambridge to go.

Blogging may have solved one of the most pressing problems that has perplexed the education world for years: how to get boys to write properly. A pioneering approach adopted by a primary school in Bolton has seen a remarkable rise in pupils' test scores.

Shadow education secretary warns of impact on children with special educational needs

Cambridge don Mary Beard explains what happened when she was invited to teach Latin to a bunch of schoolchildren on Jamie Oliver's new project

Universities minister suggests students will desert universities imposing maximum £9,000 charge

Figures show 15.6% of 16-24 year-olds were 'neets' at end of last year, as thinktank warns young people's unemployment likely to rise to 1.2m in next five years

The number of students cheating on university applications soared by a third last year amid rising competition for degree courses.

The pay packets of Britain’s university heads rocketed by as much as a fifth last year, just as institutions lobbied for a huge hike in student tuition fees, The Daily Telegraph can reveal. More than 950 university staff, including all vice-chancellors, were paid more than the Prime Minister – an eight per cent increase on the year before.

A fifth of recent graduates are unemployed – the highest proportion for more than a decade, statistics show

Survey by recruitment website shows dissatisfaction at university education among recent graduates struggling to find jobs

Select committee calls on Gove to think again about encouraging all pupils to study traditional subjects

Employers find apprentices are worth more to their businesses than university graduates, a poll has shown. City & Guilds, which awards qualifications for apprentices, surveyed 500 employers. Half had hired apprentices, and 52% of those employers said they were better value than graduates.

 The UK’s top universities have been an island of excellence in a rising tide of mediocrity.

Universities, schools and colleges are stuck in "isolated silos" chasing targets while their students and pupils miss out on the benefits of them cooperating over qualifications and staff training. That is the view of Denise Walker, a headteacher at a remote comprehensive school who is embarking on a groundbreaking project that has the potential to radically alter the provision of higher and further education in rural areas.

Record numbers of students have missed out on university places, new figures show. Data published by the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service reveal that 210,022 people – about a third of applicants – were not accepted on to university courses last autumn.

The social work watchdog is urging universities to drive up the quality of work placements for students after two-thirds of providers were asked to make improvements. Figures published by the General Social Care Council (GSCC), which inspects the quality of social work education, also reveal a decline in the number of local authority placements for social work students.

What do undergraduates learn in four years’ study at American universities? In an alarming number of cases, absolutely nothing, according to a still-unreleased book that is causing a firestorm in the US.

The book, Academically Adrift: Limited Learning on College Campuses (University of Chicago Press), states that 45 per cent of 2,322 undergraduates tested made no significant improvement in their critical thinking, reasoning or writing skills during their first two years at university.

An Australian university has made changes to its innovative "new generation" undergraduate curriculum after satisfaction ratings from the first cohort of graduates revealed mixed results.The so-called "Melbourne model", which includes a three-year broad undergraduate curriculum, left students paralysed by choice, a seminar last week heard.

In 2008, the first students enrolled in one of just six under-graduate degrees offered by the University of Melbourne. The curriculum allows students to choose subjects from outside their major disciplines and enables them to study interdisciplinary courses.

The University of Wolverhampton has appointed Geoff Layer as its new vice-chancellor. Professor Layer is currently deputy vice-chancellor (academic) at the University of Bradford and will join Wolverhampton in August 2011. He will replace Caroline Gipps, who retires at the end of the academic year.

Professor Layer is a former professor of lifelong learning and former director of Action on Access, an agency set up to advise the Higher Education Funding Council for England on WIdening participation. He graduated from Newcastle Polytechnic with an LLB (Hons).


Experts have raised "serious concerns" about new requirements for lecturer training. The proposals, set out by the Higher Education Academy, are "too detailed and prescriptive" and could be counterproductive, staff in the field have warned. Plans to revise the UK Professional Standards Framework were published by the HEA in November after the Browne Review called for teaching qualifications to be made compulsory for new academics.

As funding falls away, the arts and humanities risk becoming the playground of the wealthy

Media studies has long been cast as the classic "Mickey Mouse" subject. Now, at a time of widespread cuts in the academy, scholars in the field have launched A Manifesto for Media Education, a web-based project designed to fight their corner."We hope to achieve greater clarity about our subject," explained Jon Wardle, director of the Centre for Excellence in Media Practice at Bournemouth University

Self-management, co-operation, problem-solving and communication skills: all are useful employment attributes, but should they be taught as accredited parts of your degree course? They may be soon, if recent proposals by several universities become reality.

People outside tariff system driving applications surge, Hepi study finds. Much of the surge in demand for university places in England in recent years has been driven by applicants without standard qualifications such as A levels, according to a report.

Students could use work experience or ‘corporate skills’ to gain extra marks towards their degrees at some universities, it has been revealed. Institutions are planning to allow undergraduates to earn additional credits by displaying workplace expertise, such as the ability to make a good presentation.

Twitter can play role in higher attainment and better engagement, study finds. The sight of students fiddling with their mobile phones and laptops as they tweet their way through lectures is enough to drive many academics up the wall. But according to a study at Lock Haven University in the US, tweeting could be used to improve academic performance.

The Russell Group of large research-intensive universities has for the first time published a guide with advice on what A levels its institutions favour, suggesting that students should avoid more than one “soft” subject.

Tuition fee levels at the University of Cambridge should be set at £9,000 from 2012-13, but students from the poorest backgrounds should be given a £3,000 discount, according to a draft report seen by Times Higher Education.

Record numbers of students are applying to university this year in a rush to beat a major hike in tuition fees, figures suggest.

The upward trend is predicted to continue this year, but the average salary is predicted to remain static at £25,000 for an unprecedented third year

More than 45 students are expected to compete for each graduate job this year amid record demand for the most sought-after positions, according to research.

KPMG will pay the tuition fees of up to 100 school leavers joining its new degree programme this September

Examination board Edexcel may apply for degree-awarding powers, Times Higher Education has learned.  A spokesman for the exam board, which is owned by the publishing giant Pearson, confirmed that it is exploring the potential for providing further education colleges with degree certification, describing the step as a natural progression from its higher national diploma provision.

As the number of young people out of work hits the one in five mark, we look at the best and worst universities for graduate employment prospects.

The lack of a united response from universities to the government's overhaul of funding has highlighted a "fundamental problem" with representation in the sector. That is the view of Robin Baker, vice-chancellor of Canterbury Christ Church University, who said Universities UK in particular had been too "accommodating" over the radical changes proposed.

England's top universities could have turned into private institutions if the government dropped plans to increase tuition fees, Vince Cable has said.

The number of part-time students in England could fall as a result of proposals for university fees and funding, a government document has revealed.

Milton Keynes-based university attracts under-25s seeking part-time study and lower tuition fees

"NIACE is pleased that the wider benefits of learning are well-recognised and that adult learning will underpin the growth and the Big Society agenda. There are real challenges ahead though. The Treasury remains sceptical about the value of community based adult learning and the safeguarded budget needs to be defended as it is reformed in order to maintain a degree of curriculum breadth."


Gazing out upon the hallowed green rectangle of Burnley's Turf Moor, it is not hard to imagine the glories of days past. But from next September, the club, one of the founder members of the Football League in 1888, will be home to Britain's newest university.

Private school students are 55 times more likely to win a place at Oxbridge and 22 times more likely to go to a top-ranked university than students at state schools who qualify for Free School Meals (FSM)[1].


Students from comprehensive schools are likely to achieve higher class degrees at university than independent and grammar school students with similar A-levels and GCSE results, a major study commissioned by the Sutton Trust and the Government shows.


We support the idea that students should contribute towards the cost of their degrees, however we also believe that they should only do so when they can afford it.£9000-per-year

PWC has revealed that it has been inundated with more than 5,500 applications for its graduate scheme in the space of just six weeks, signalling a return in confidence in the graduate jobs market.

British universities draw up plans to accredit undergraduates who gain workplace skills or experience in jobs market

The Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills has set out the funding for higher education in 2011-12 and beyond in the annual grant letter to HEFCE.

David Willetts says this year's extra funding to meet surge in applications will be withdrawn

Student Lifewide Development Symposium 

£50   Tuesday March 1st  2011  10.00- 16.00

Lakeside Conference Centre, Aston University, Birmingham

The symposium focuses on the role of PDP, portfolios, facilitation techniques, technology and personal development

recognition schemes,  in encouraging and enabling holistic student development through their lifewide experiences

tudents develop their capability for living, their resilience for surviving and the resourcefulness that enables them to prosper in the real world through their whole life experience – not just formal education. This conference will explore further the UK higher education phenomenon that views students’ engagement with their life experiences, as the fundamental resource for personal and professional development.


You can download the new revised version of the RDF: structure and content overview poster. The RDF posters and supporting documents have been provided to assist organisations and individuals with the implementation of the Researcher Development Framework and accompanying statement.

A survey of the public carried out by Ipsos MORI shows strong support for public investment in higher education (HE) and that its benefits to the UK are clearly recognised. The final report on the survey has been published following publication of a summary report in September by Universities UK

Delegates at the European e-learning Summit, organised by Learning Light with support from learndirect and Creativesheffield and held in Sheffield (17th to 19th November) have agreed to pursue dialogue with national governments to establish a single, independent and impartial body representing the corporate e-learning sector.

The Minister for Universities and Skills, David Willetts MP, announced today that funding for the Aimhigher programme would cease in July 2011. Commenting on the announcement Sir Alan Langlands, Chief Executive of HEFCE, said that the priority now is to ensure that the valuable lessons learnt from Aimhigher can be built upon for the benefit of future learners.

Analysis shows there will be less social mobility and nearly two-thirds of graduates will pay more for their degrees

As protests continue over tuition fees, John Sutherland wonders what's to become of arts courses. Will they be seen as worth the money? 

Cosy vice-chancellors' 'clubs' are partly responsible for the jump in tuition fees

Frances Booth was one of the first volunteers to work at Nick Hornby's new writing centre, the Ministry of Stories. Read about her session with a group from Jubilee primary school and their story about Bob the Fat Man who's scared of hair.

The Higher Education Academy is to close its network of discipline-based teaching support centres and replace them with subject heads who will report to the HEA's headquarters in York. Under the new structure, some 130 full-time equivalent (FTE) posts from across the HEA and its 24 subject centres will go - cutting staff numbers by more than half.

Universities are spending millions on redesigns and maintenance of websites which students say are inadequate and lack basic services, the Telegraph can disclose.

Universities UK (UUK) is pleased to announce that Professor Eric Thomas, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Bristol, will be the next President of Universities UK. He will succeed the current President, Professor Steve Smith, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Exeter, on 1 August 2011 and will hold the post for the two academic years 2011-12 and 2012-13.

The coalition government's new strategy promises to transform the social status and image of vocational skills and apprenticeships

Both young people aged 13-19 and adults will be able to begin accessing new arrangements for careers guidance from September 2011. The service will be fully operational by April 2012. It will build on the best of Next Step and Connexions and provide a fully joined up service for all age groups for the first time.


Speaking at the AoC annual conference on 17th November 2010, John Hayes, Minister of State for Further Education, Skills and Lifelong Learning, outlined the critical role of colleges.

Examination board Edexcel may apply for degree-awarding powers, Times Higher Education has learned.  A spokesman for the exam board, which is owned by the publishing giant Pearson, confirmed that it is exploring the potential for providing further education colleges with degree certification, describing the step as a natural progression from its higher national diploma provision.

As the number of young people out of work hits the one in five mark, we look at the best and worst universities for graduate employment prospects.

The lack of a united response from universities to the government's overhaul of funding has highlighted a "fundamental problem" with representation in the sector. That is the view of Robin Baker, vice-chancellor of Canterbury Christ Church University, who said Universities UK in particular had been too "accommodating" over the radical changes proposed.

Proposals hailed as a breakthrough for part-time students, giving them access to the same financial support as their full-time peers, may be crucially flawed. David Latchman, master of Birkbeck, University of London, said that while he welcomed the aim of Lord Browne of Madingley's proposals to extend loan support for part-timers, the details set out in his review did not "mesh" with the reality of study.

Universities' umbrella body says forcing the government to abandon planned rises could mean 'swingeing cuts to student numbers'

Thousands of the poorest graduates will be worse off under the Government's higher education reforms because of a statistical "sleight of hand" by ministers, The Independent has learnt. The change means that graduates earning just £18,000 a year in today's money will have to start paying hundreds of pounds a year to the Treasury when they leave university in 2016

Vince Cable has claimed that the government effectively was held to ransom on tuition fees, as a group of elite universities would have “gone private” if the cap had not been raised.

England's top universities could have turned into private institutions if the government dropped plans to increase tuition fees, Vince Cable has said.

The number of part-time students in England could fall as a result of proposals for university fees and funding, a government document has revealed.

A national programme that aims to widen participation in higher education is to be scrapped.

10th Seminar

If 1 in 10 students in 2009 couldn't find any form of work, does this mean that universities are not giving graduates the right skills that they need to make the transition to the workplace? Poppy Ring investigates.

Traditional guilds will be at the heart of the coalition government's attempts to elevate the status of vocational skills in a bid to support economic growth, the skills minister has said.

Ian Harper discusses the challenges facing young people today and some of the changes that need to be made to ensure a smooth transition from education to the workplace

As the government announces its plans for university fees, Browne review panel member David Eastwood talks to Jessica Shepherd about their deliberations

‘This seems to be a sensible compromise – although the burden will fall heavily on those on middle incomes’, says The Telegraph

Graduate recruitment is expected to grow more among small businesses than large companies next year, with firms in London, the South East and the North West set to provide the most opportunities, an analysis has found

To inform the work of the Online Learning Task Force (OLTF), HEFCE commissioned the Technology-Assisted Lifelong Learning team at the University of Oxford to carry out a study of the current UK provision of higher education-level online distance learning and to advise the OLTF where further work was required to increase understanding of this sector. This report presents the findings, based on desk research exploring the web-sites of HEIs, FECs and commercial providers, and interviews with key players in online learning.

The study highlights the difficulties in finding information about online courses on institutions' web-sites, and the lack of clarity in the terminology institutions use to describe their online programmes. It makes recommendations concerning terminology, discoverability, sharing of best practice and improving market intelligence, which are outlined in the executive summary.

The Government today set out new progressive plans for reforms to higher education and student finance to ensure that we maintain England’s world class university sector. Universities play a key role in promoting social mobility as well as economic growth. The new reforms will offer a more generous package of financial support for students from low income backgrounds to go to university.

Despite welcoming yesterday's announcement about the reform of he and student finance, NIACE remains concerned about how the reforms will affect demand for places, especially from disadvantaged groups and for maintaining curriculum breadth.

Government announces plans for reform of higher education and student finance to maintain England's world class universities

David Docherty, CIHE’s Chief Executive has been interviewed by the FT about the importance of a variety of skills within the workplace. The article asks whether the focus on so-called ‘Stem subjects’ – science, technology, engineering and maths – recently called for again by the CBI, could be a mistake. It reports on the growing voice for more emphasis to be placed on the importance of humanities graduates, who bring different skills to the workplace.

In The Independent, Helena Pozniak looks at how technology will shape learning

Research from Adobe has found  that whilst 77% of UK employers and university lecturers place a high value on creativity in school leavers there is little evidence of strong creative skills in students applying for jobs or places at university.

Over 300 learning professionals who attended the 2010 E-learning Debate at the Oxford Union witnessed a lively debate on the motion: “This house believes that technology-based informal learning is more style than substance”.

Browne's recommendations, together with the comprehensive spending review, will see a boom in private university provision

An English comprehensive school is planning a groundbreaking project to offer university degrees. Methwold High School, near Thetford in Norfolk, is considering running courses in law and business administration from September 2011 and could become a "national pilot" for more local provision of higher education.

In its leader column the THES says that universities have for some time left A levels to others, but they may soon find themselves driven to reassert control

Universities will be able to charge tuition fees of up to £9,000 and higher-earning graduates will face interest rates on their loans of 3 per cent above inflation under proposals unveiled today.

These spending cuts will mean that the state is abandoning its role in funding universities writes Steve Smith, president of Universities UK

Report shows increased career anxiety in class of 2010 and calls for new legal definition for internships

Traditional university courses could become the preserve of an elite as growing numbers of students take on-line degrees, according to a report.

Mick Waters says exam boards 'almost corrupt' and make profits through textbooks that hint at exam questions

The “artificial” barriers between universities and further education should be swept away in a bid to a create a “revolution” in post-16 education and training, Vince Cable has told the Liberal Democrat party conference.

A graduate has taken the unusual step of going to the high court to challenge the result of his degree. It is one of first cases of its kind to be heard by the high court.


Carl Gilleard, Chief Executive of AGR, responds to the findings of the Independent Review of Higher Education Funding and Student Finance, chaired by Lord Browne of Madingley

Schools will be faced with a massive shortage of teachers if the Government goes ahead with plans to make it harder to enter the profession, says a report out today.

Britain has plummeted in an international league table of the most educated nations, according to a major report.

Universities minister David Willetts says graduates must pay a 'fair contribution' towards their studies in line with their earnings

Increasing tuition fees - even to £10,000 per year - would not significantly reduce applications for university in England, say researchers.

Far from sitting in their rooms glued to the internet, a survey has shown how hungry students want to attend fairs, presentations and skills sessions to engage in face-to-face contact with their future employers.

Britain's best universities are still failing to attract young people from disadvantaged backgrounds despite offering them attractive bursaries, a report out today concludes.

Pupils predicted anything less than an A grade at A-level could miss out on university, say private school heads.

Students in England will be paying more for a public university degree course than those anywhere else in the world if fees rise to £5,000 a year, according to research published today.

If there was one statistic that revealed the urgency with which we need reform of university funding it was yesterday's trade figures.

Lord Browne's Independent Review into Higher Education Funding and Student Finance is good news for the half a million part-time undergraduates, 90 per cent of whom are over the age of 22, says NIACE.

Lord Browne's review of student fees and finance - if implemented in full - will have a huge impact on the structure of the sector. Here we examine the likely outcome for different types of institution of higher fees coupled with a massive loss of teaching funding following forthcoming cuts

Lord Browne's review calls for "genuine competition for students between institutions of a kind which cannot take place under the current system". Here's how it would work:

David Willetts says top earners will pay more for degrees

Universities minister David Willetts says graduates must pay a 'fair contribution' towards their studies in line with their earnings

Recruiters report intense competition for trainee places as would-be students are deterred by cost

Landmark review expected to recommend extension of loans to cover upfront fees for part-time students

Universities minister urges students disappointed in clearing to enhance their CVs and apply to less competitive institutions

Corralling the young into vocational factory farms or apprenticeships splits further the educated elite from those who service it

The news that students are being pushed towards part-time degrees is as depressing as hell

In an ever-smarter world, all but the most myopic parents sense that getting their children an education is urgent

The disparity between the number of 'contact hours' afforded to arts and science students could be reflected in the fees

The Browne review into the funding of higher education has led to a debate on whether a university education provides value for money. In the last three months, there have been two comment pieces by arts students complaining about the "paucity of teaching" within their degrees and suggesting that the disparity between arts and science contact hours should be reflected in the fees.

For the past 40 years, Dr Lamb, emeritus reader in genetics at Imperial College London and president of The Queen's English Society, has been on a quest to improve standards of English among his students and the general population.

The current fees system for further education (FE) in England is not securing the expected contributions (‘co-investment’) from individual learners and employers, according to an independent review. This means that the total level of FE investment is less than it should be and funding is not directed to where it is most needed.

This is one of the conclusions of the Independent Review of Fees and Co-Funding in Further Education in England led by Chris Banks CBE. The review was commissioned by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) to make recommendations to improve the system in England for securing contributions from individuals and employers for those further education courses which improve skills. It focused on further education for those aged 19 and above.

Academic and support staff report shift to culture of commerce, a paper reveals. Staff in universities new and old perceive a common shift towards a managerialist culture that views higher education "as a business", a journal paper argues.

Just four months after being given responsibility for college funding, local authorities are losing it again

The business secretary's proposals for greater efficiency and increased competition among universities are likely to damage the HE sector

At a recent meeting in London, representatives from institutions including the University of Exeter Business School, the University of Bath, the University of Strathclyde, and Cranfield University agreed that the creation of BS 11000 was a major step forward which offers significant opportunities to support the implementation of more effective collaborative working for both the private and public sectors.

The coalition government is believed to be considering new legislation that could lead to publicly funded universities being owned by shareholders

The era of the traditional gap year is over and students should abandon plans to see the world before going to university, the head of the admissions body has warned.

Will the new university technical colleges really boost vocational learning or just mislead students?

It is a familiar lament: teaching excellence is doomed never to be rewarded as handsomely as research success - if at all. But some institutions are determined to tackle the pedagogical deficit

Small businesses are expecting their businesses to grow over the next six months and are poised to recruit - but not from the graduate pool.

The latest focus study on skills, migration and off shoring in the CIPD/KPMG Labour Market Outlook report shows that demand for migrant workers has increased in line with improvements in the UK labour market during the past year.

The Researcher Development Framework (RDF) is a tool for planning, promoting and supporting the personal, professional and career development of researchers in higher education. It describes the knowledge, skills, behaviours and personal qualities of researchers and encourages them to aspire to excellence through achieving higher levels of development.

The Researcher Development Statement (RDS) is a reference document that includes the domains, sub domains and descriptors of the full framework in a useful format for policy makers and research organisations who are planning the support and development of researchers in higher education. 

Download the relevant documents here;

'Full' universities turn away record number of students

All courses full at Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh and Warwick nine days before A-level results, Guardian poll finds

Representatives from the UK's higher education sector have welcomed the draft British Standard BS 11000 - on collaborative business relationships.


Two studies show how improved public information on higher education can help potential students make more informed choices.


The Institute of Hospitality is set to launch a suite of e-learning units for its members. Developed by, Aurion Learning, the e-learning units will assist members of the Institute in their personal and professional development. Kathryn Benzine, Director of Professional Development at the Institute of Hospitality said:

"We have worked closely with Aurion to develop a suite of e-learning units for our members that includes: Effective Study Skills; Information and Research Handling in Hospitality and Tourism; Introduction to Personal Development in Hospitality and Tourism; Managing Your Professional Portfolio in Hospitality and Tourism and French Language Skills for Hospitality. The e-learning programmes will be rolled out from August 2010 and we encourage all our members, students and those working in the industry to give them a try!"


A report from Estyn (Her Majesty’s Inspectorate for Education and Training in Wales) has examined the effectiveness of employer engagement and the support for industry provided by further education (FE) colleges.

A straight-As candidate and a 'lovely bloke' is rejected by all the universities he applied to. Why?

Employers, colleges, training organisations and individuals are invited to share their ideas on the future direction of adult learning policy. The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills has published two consultation papers seeking to transform adult learning.

Current or recent participation in adult learning is at its highest level for a decade (43%) and there has been a significant increase in participation from groups that are traditionally under-represented in more formal education. This is the finding of the 2010 survey of adult participation in learning conducted by The National Institute of Adult Continuing Education (NIACE).

A graduate tax would be paid to the Treasury, leaving no guarantee that universities would fully benefit from the proceeds argues Peter Scott in the Guardian

The education secretary, Michael Gove, said today that his plan to transform England's schools was urgently needed to improve the chances of the poorest children, and claimed the country was falling behind the rest of the world in science, literacy and maths.

Concerns about unpaid labour and lack of local opportunities are putting off students and graduates seeking internships and summer placements, according to a poll by the National Council for Work Experience (NCWE).

The UK must radically reform the skills of its workforce or risk the economy losing its world-class ranking, report warns.

Report says short courses would harm research and make students less employable.

Thames Valley University has been granted permission by the Privy Council to change its name to the University of West London.

Employers are "almost certainly" breaking the law with unpaid internships, according to a new report.

Hundreds of thousands of Wal-Mart employees now have an extra reason to consider pursuing a college degree. Through a partnership with the online American Public University (APU), they can qualify for free college credits that are awarded for the knowledge and skills they've gained in certain job categories. By 2012, 70 percent of the giant company's US staff will be in jobs that are eligible for free credits.

Students face having to achieve higher grades to get on popular courses as universities raise standards to avoid being “overrun”, it was claimed.

Universities minister says students leaving higher education should rethink what they consider to be a graduate career

Carl Gilleard said: “The AGR does not support the idea of a graduate tax. There is no guarantee that this tax would find its way into higher education. We believe that the removal of the cap on student tuition fees is the only way to fill the existing funding gap and to compel universities to demonstrate that their degree courses represent value for money.”

Vince Cable has opened the door to radical changes in the structure and funding of higher education in a landscape of reduced public investment, with potential innovations including bigger graduate contributions for high earners, the end of the distinction between further and higher education, state money for private providers and cash to reward teaching excellence.

Private universities will flourish and struggling institutions will be allowed to fail, if the coalition has its way with the future of higher education

The Secretary of State sets out his views about Higher Education.

Eighteen-year-olds will no longer automatically submit ‘Club Med’-style applications to university as soon as they leave school, says David Willetts, the Universities Minister.


Coaching has been with us for many years now, and it has become the norm for many large organisations to use external coaches for various reasons; executive coaching remains popular, and internal effectiveness coaches work one-on-one to improve performance. Recently, however, there appears to be a greater interest in, or perhaps a renewed emphasis on, creating a coaching ‘culture’ in organisations.

Harrods is teaming up with academics to offer a degree in sales. Topics include shopping psychology


The vice-chancellor of Buckingham says all universities should be private and that free education for children has been a disaster. How seriously does he take himself?


A quarter of the Open University's new students are aged 17 to 25. Why the sudden surge in popularity?


With debt a growing worry, more students are turning to colleges for their degrees

HEFCE’s response to the Secretary of State’s letter.


The UK’s graduate unemployment rate could soar to nearly 25 per cent due to public-sector budget cuts, with newly qualified jobseekers outside of London the worst hit, new forecasts have predicted

David Willetts wants more people to take degrees by distance learning at further education colleges. Lucy Hodges looks at what it could involve

An analysis by HEPI of the most recent data available reveals that graduate unemployment has worsened sharply for both male and female graduates in just one year and has increased by 25 per cent from 11.1 per cent in December 2008 to 14.0 per cent in December 2009. But the unemployment position appears to be far worse for males than for females: in December 2009 17.2 per cent of young male graduates were unemployed compared to 11.2 per cent of female graduates.

Top universities are struggling to select the best students because of exam “grade inflation”, according to research.

As universities across the globe strive to prove their economic impact, one UK institution has devised a radical way to ensure it is indispensable to local businesses.

John Hayes suggests evening classes could bring cheer to the lives of those affected by the economic downturn

'Upskilling' is a noble aim of the main parties, but to achieve it, we must remove the financial barriers to part-time study. Business secretary Vince Cable is already making his predecessor look like a pussycat. He has attacked vice-chancellors on pay and reportedly wants to chop university places. Meanwhile, Prime Minister David Cameron is warning of years of pain ahead.

Increasing numbers of students could take degree courses at local colleges rather than going to university following a £50million rebuilding scheme to be announced today.

The closure of the university's philosophy department raises worrying questions about the future of humanities

School-leavers and even graduates lack basic literacy and numeracy skills, according to a survey of big employers published today. More companies are having to provide remedial training to new staff, who cannot write clear instructions, do simple maths, or solve problems.

Vince Cable has made an outspoken attack on the pay of vice-chancellors, accusing university leaders of being “out of step with reality”.

An annual survey shows that the number of people wanting to go back to learning is at a 20-year high.

Plans to shut one of the world’s leading university philosophy courses have sparked outrage among academics.

The excitement of the election campaign may be over, but the future path for education hasn’t yet been revealed. So at this stage of uncertainty, what message do we want to give politicians on professional learning in our schools?

Thousands of jobs are at risk as colleges grapple with a massive reduction in funding

Disciplinarian Gibb says he'd rather see an Oxbridge graduate with no PGCE teaching physics than a qualified teacher with a degree from a 'rubbish university'

On Wednesday 12th May 2010, Year 12 pupils from St Brigid’s High School spent their last Personal and Social Education (PSE) class with their form teachers completing final touches to their Progress File, which they have using to record evidence of their achievements and goals over the past five years. The Progress File helps to give pupils a sense of purpose – a prompt for thinking about their goals - what they want to achieve from their learning and other activities.,cntnt01,detail,0&cntnt01articleid=69&cntnt01origid=120&cntnt01returnid=120

The government's decision to abolish the education ICT agency Becta by November has been met with mixed view. The scrapping of the quango which promotes the use of technology in schools is part of cuts worth £6.2 billion in what Chancellor George Osbourne has called 'wasteful' public spending. While up to 240 jobs will go and its services cut, many are asking if Becta will truly be missed.

Union leader Sally Hunt says there are already strikes at individual universities in response to swingeing redundancies and cuts

Aurion Learning and St. James's Hospital have launched an exciting new online learning resource to support healthcare staff in their continuing professional development. St. James's Hospital is one of the largest teaching hospitals in Dublin and has a rich culture of learning and development. The new learning hub will make it easier for St. James's Hospital to promote learning and development and easier for employees to access learning and development resources and tools.

The opening of a new Tesco usually means shelves full of groceries. But the opening of a Tesco Academy next year in Seoul, South Korea, will be yet another example of business schools supplying education to the big grocery chains as they expand overseas.,dwp_uuid=02e16f4a-46f9-11da-b8e5-00000e2511c8.html

The first graduate scheme dedicated to training pub landlords has been launched by the brewer Greene King.

The pub retailer, which owns the Hardy’s House, Old English Inns and Loch Fyne brands, will be taking on 50 graduates for a three-year programme starting in August.

In an exclusive interview for The Independent, the new chief executive of Universities UK tells Lucy Hodges why universities need to sell themselves better

Traditional university degree grades have been rendered meaningless by the mass expansion of higher education, say researchers.

Report calls for degree-classification system to be phased out.  Achieving the same standards in degrees awarded by different universities is impossible and it would be wrong to attempt it, a higher education think tank has claimed.

This report discusses the issues involved in comparability of degree standards. It is in two parts. Part 1 begins by outlining the means by which individual universities and colleges and the academic community collectively protect the standards of UK degrees. It then describes the historical attachment to comparability and the pressures which have led to questions being raised about it. Part 2 considers whether genuine comparability is still feasible, and what options may be open to UK higher education if it were found to be impracticable

From Vocational Guidance to Portfolio Careers: A Critical Reflection

New survey of 16,000 final year students shows only a third of the ‘Class of 2010’ expect to find a graduate job after university.

The links and materials in this section are intended to be useful to those responsible for organising and/or delivering the training of tutors, as well as being directly useful to individuals who have taken on the role of personal tutor. It includes suggestions for workshop/training session outlines and which materials to use in them (what to do in an hour; three hours; a day; a series of days…).

This section relates to theoretical or conceptual frameworks which could underpin tutoring practice, and highlights some published research.

Concepts used in personal tutoring are often drawn from the worlds of counselling and/or mentoring. The personal tutor relationship is different from either the counsellor/client or the mentor/mentee relationship, but many of the skills needed are the same: active listening, ‘drawing out’, support for planning and target-setting (see The Skills of the Personal Tutor and its subsections).

Just as definitions of the personal tutor role vary, there is no one explanatory framework for ‘what works’ in the tutoring relationship. Without a general agreement on the purpose of the personal tutor role, it is also difficult to establish a measure of ‘success’. Good personal tutoring is often cited as making an important contribution to retention and progression – yet for a particular student, helping them make the decision to leave a programme or institution for clear, positive reasons could be a good outcome of a personal tutorial.

Below are some research publications which focus on personal tutoring. 

Myers, J. (2008) Is personal tutoring sustainable? Comparing the trajectory of the personal tutor with that of the residential warden. Teaching in Higher Education, 13 (5), 607-611.

Owen, M. (2002) Sometimes you feel you’re in niche time: the personal tutor system, a case study. Active Learning in Higher Education, 3 (1), 7 - 23.

Stephen, D., O'Connell, P., Hall, M. (2008) 'Going the extra mile', 'fire-fighting', or laissez-faire? Re-evaluating personal tutoring relationships within mass higher education. Teaching in Higher Education, 13 (4), 449-460(12).

Wilcox, P., Winn, S., Fyvie Gauld, M. (2005) ‘It was nothing to do with the university, it was just the people': the role of social support in the first-year experience of higher education. Studies in Higher Education, 30 (6), 707-722(16). 

This section contains links to a range of web pages and documentation provided by different universities, which set out their policies on personal tutoring and PDP, and provide a definition of the personal tutor role in that institution.

The role of a personal tutor varies between different higher education institutions, depending to a great extent on institutional policy but also on custom and practice within different schools and departments. Most institutions have a policy document or guide for personal tutors to help them understand their responsibilities and, just as importantly, to describe the range of specialist services which provide backup and support to their front-line role. Click on the link to a short article from the TES, January 2008, which discusses the role of the personal tutor: it contains comments from Paula Hixenbaugh from Westminster; Deborah Murdoch Eaton from Leeds; Annie Grant from East Anglia; Wes Streeting from the NUS; Lindsey Neville from Worcester; and Margo Blythman from the University of the Arts.


University of Reading

Reading has a well-developed and comprehensive website for personal tutors. The section on the role of the personal tutor states: ‘The role of the Personal Tutor is essentially twofold: academic development and pastoral care’. The site has 8 sections: Role; Structure; Boundaries; PDP; Referral; Common Issues; Legal Aspects; and a Directory of support services. 

Reading’s essential guide for personal tutors can also be downloaded from the website.


University of Brighton

Brighton’s Centre for Learning and Teaching has a page for personal tutors, from which its guide for personal tutors can be downloaded. Also downloadable is a document written to give guidance to students, called Personal tutoring - what to expect. The page also gives links to case studies which can be used for discussion and training.


University of Worcester

Worcester’s website for personal tutors is called the Personal Tutor Toolkit. It includes a downloadable staff guide for personal tutors. There are also useful downloadable documents on Managing Student Distress, Mental Health Policy, and Students with Mental Health Difficulties. The website also links to the institution’s support services.


University of Bath

Bath has an extensive website for staff which can be printed as a set of guidelines. Personal tutors’ continuing responsibilities for students while on placement are emphasised. The website gives links to the University's Codes of Practice on personal tutoring and placement learning. There is a useful section on identifying students with potential difficulties, and on confidentiality, including downloadable Confidentiality protocols.

Families of all pupils in English secondary schools should have access to online school reports by September, with online primary school reports to follow the end of 2012.

A new report from Ofsted appears to confirm what many teachers will already be well aware of: professional development which is owned by teachers is important for performance at work. But what else do we need to be aware of?

Eight universities accused of obliging students to give positive feedback in Hefce surveys

A lawyer discusses the benefits of Personal Development Planning to both the individual and the business

Dr Jorgen Thorsell suggests making L&D relevant to each individual to keep the 'greyer heads' engaged.

Only when students, academics, employers and politicians can agree what university is for will answers emerge

Evaluation questionnaires will not raise standards in universities – but students will soon be able to vote with their feet

There is a new breed of high-achieving students who are spurning university in favour of work. Why?

Faced with a competitive job market, undergraduates are teaching themselves the skills they need for work

Charles Jennings argues that the adage 'access to knowledge is power' is more fitting in today's information-swamped world.

Universities must offer suitable courses for people aged 50 and above, a Universities UK report says.

The theme for this year’s ASET conference is “Enhancing the Student Experience through Work-Based and Placement Learning”. It will be held in Leicester on 7th – 9th September. The conference is participatory, allowing delegates to share experiences and learn from each other. ASET is keen to disseminate the findings and recommendations of employability, placement, work experience and work-based learning research, including the work of the Centres for Excellence in Teaching and Learning.

The 12,500 members of the British Association of Social Workers (BASW) are being urged to give a resounding "yes" vote in a referendum next month on the organisation's proposal to create a UK College of Social Work. They want to transform the profession by creating an independent college to which all 105,000 social workers in the UK will be offered free registration. The college would set its own high standards for entry to the profession, accredit continuing professional development, license all employers of social workers, and set standards for a social work career structure.

The RPSGB has apologised to hundreds of pharmacists left unsure if their CPD record was submitted on time after its CPD website crashed on the deadline day for entries. Pharmacists trying to complete their CPD entries online received ‘time out’ error messages as the site buckled under the volume of traffic, preventing them from saving their work.

English professor Chris Gallagher encourages his students to think of themselves as curators of an exhibit at a gallery or a museum. But instead of collecting Dalis, Picassos or Van Goghs, they’re picking out their best writing—from analytical essays to professional documents—and reflecting on the process they used to create the work. They’re compiling E-portfolios through which they’ll showcase their progress as writers.

Anglia Ruskin University and Peterborough Regional College yesterday (Thursday) jointly opened the £10 million University Centre Peterborough facility for higher education students on the College’s Park Crescent campus.

Aurion Learning, a specialist online learning solutions provider is working with the  Law Society of England and Wales to create a new online learning portal to be launched in March 2010.

The Belfast based company has beaten off stiff competition to win a substantial contract to design and develop an online continuing professional development (CPD) portal for the Law Society.

If Lord Mandelson's higher education review decides to concentrate funding on research-intensive universities, it won't just be the economy that's affected writes Prof. Les Ebdon in The Daily Telegraph.

Leading figures from business and education came together today as the Qualifications and Curriculum Development Agency (QCDA) launched a new qualification aimed at providing young people with essential life skills that will help them succeed in further education or employment. Functional Skills provides students with practical skills for the workplace and higher education. Tasks such as writing a successful job application and communicating effectively with customers and employers are included, giving pupils practical experience of everyday situations to help them become independent and successful adults.

The principal of Walsall College has given his backing to a new qualification that will see students learn practical skills in English, mathematics and information and communications technology from this September.

In a week when final-year university students turn their attention to jobhunting during the Easter break, a survey by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) finds that nearly six in ten (59%) of employees who graduated in the last two years are not currently working in a field or profession related to the degree they studied.

A CIPD survey found 59% of employees who graduated in the last two years are not currently working in a field or profession related to the degree they studied. The survey, Focus on graduate jobs, which is based on responses from more than 700 graduates in employment, comes against the backdrop of Government pledges to significantly increase - to 75% - the proportion of young people they want to secure a degree or equivalent level qualification. 

This new report from the Department of Businjess and Skills looked at:

  • the benefits of postgraduate education for the economy, employers, the higher

education sector and individuals

  • access to postgraduate study and the potential barriers affecting the diversity of


  • the importance of postgraduate education in providing employers with the higher

level skills they need;

  • and the international competitiveness of postgraduate education in the UK.


The CIHE today releases ‘Talent Fishing’, a report that explores the extent and nature of demand for postgraduates from businesses. The report is based on detailed consultations with senior managers and HR directors in 56 businesses – many of them global recruiters – and indicates there is a high level of demand for, and satisfaction with higher degrees.

The Association of Graduate Recruiters (AGR) has today (date) launched Demystifying UK Universities - a definitive guide to the higher education system which will help employers to find the best potential candidates from amongst the 270,000 graduates set to enter the jobs market this year. 

The Researcher development framework (RDF) was created during 2009 in response to a range of recommendations to create a UK development framework for postgraduate researchers and research staff in higher education institutions. 

Graduate recruiters have been urged to stop focusing on "arbitrary" academic qualifications in order to improve retention and diversity and source more suitable candidates.

Association of Graduate Recruiters election manifesto backs Personal Development Planning and the Higher Education Achievement report.

The Association of Graduate Recruiters has published its first ever general election manifesto; ‘Talent, Opportunity, Prosperity’.  While much press coverage has centred upon fees and issues related to widening participation and standards (see e.g. ), it might be re-assuring to note that the manifesto also includes support for both PDP and the Higher Education Achievement Report.

 Universities will be given new powers to set A-levels under Conservatives plans to protect exams from political meddling.

Graduates could find work through the government's graduate internship fund for small businesses.

The Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA) has strengthened its guidance which helps UK universities and colleges produce graduates equipped to meet the demands of the changing employment market.

Those offering traditional degrees could learn a lot from the diverse entry routes and patterns of provision offered by foundation courses

Universities face being starved of taxpayer cash for "a good few years", the Government has admitted, triggering fresh fears over a prolonged squeeze on degree course places.

The disbandment of the Learning and Skills Council and its replacement in April with a newly structured Skills Funding Agency are among the developments flagged up in a revised CIPD online factsheet on the UK skills agenda

The European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training (CEDEFOP) has launched a new web portal. See below

 On 11 January Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families, Ed Balls received a special delivery of 17,500 postcards from NUT members and supporters. The NUT has been consistent and concerted in its opposition to plans for teachers to undergo relicensing every five years since this was first proposed by the Government in June of last year.

Eighteen pharmacists have been referred to the chief inspector for failing to submit CPD records to the RPSGB. The findings came as the Society released data on the first six months of the call and review programme.No formal disciplinary proceedings have been started against the pharmacists, the Society said. Despite the breaches, the vast majority of pharmacists have submitted CPD as requested, according to figures.

The regulation directorate of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain (RPSGB) is confident that the pharmacy profession is keeping its competencies, skills, and knowledge of best practice, actively up to date with the announcement that over 80% of registrants have achieved a rating of "excellent" in the first wave of its call and review Continuing Professional Development (CPD) assessment programme.

The QCDA has recently published a new document ' 'The Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF) and Higher Education - Working together to benefit learners'.   It has a specific section relating to professional bodies and associations on page 23.

The dramatic graduate job cuts feared last summer have failed to materialise, according to the Association of Graduate Recruiters (AGR) biannual survey. Vacancies in 2009 actually fell by 8.9%, far less than the 24.9% predicted during last summer's survey.

Entry requirements for teacher training in England are too low, a Commons education select committee has said. The committee said graduates applying for post-graduate certificate of education (PGCE) courses should have at least a lower second class degree, and that teaching needs to be established as a Masters degree-level profession. 

Whether you have been looking to guide your own professional development or your organisation's, you will undoubtedly have noticed the trend away from the traditional classroom learning experience. That tradition is being replaced by a wide range of technology-enabled learning modalities, from podcasts and webinars to formal, one-on-one coaching and a range of elearning platforms.

Universities across the country are preparing to axe thousands of teaching jobs, close campuses and ditch courses to cope with government funding cuts, the Guardian has learned.

Nampak Plastics Europe has been helping bring teachers up to speed with the hi-tech world of manufacturing as they get ready to teach students a pioneering industry-backed qualification.

A website to support unemployed teachers to access Continuing Professional Development (CPD) has been launched, alongside new guidance on CPD for supply teachers.

Download the latest podcasts below.

Download Weekly Chat Disussions and Related Materials Below

University students would be willing to pay higher tuition fees for courses that lead to the highest-earning jobs

Government initiatives on internships are encouraging employers to exploit unpaid labour under the guise of work experience, the director of the National Council for Work Experience (NCWE) has said.

Hundreds of thousands of would-be students will be denied a university place because of spending cuts, says higher education body Universities UK.

Managers find an informal chat with a colleague is by far the most frequent and effective learning activity according to a new report.

Experts are warning that a huge mistake by policymakers will affect the job prospects of thousands of young people for years to come


Private higher education is growing, often to the dismay of academics. Coming soon: the Lego university

The education and skills system is facing up to the fact that the UK's mountainous budget deficit will lead inexorably to major funding cuts. The relative protection of schools means that reductions will impact chiefly on further and higher education and the intermediary bodies in the skills system. So, what does this mean?

RENOWNED Liverpool business figure Ken Pye has been appointed by Liverpool Hope University to build on its links with the business community and to develop new methods of improving education, training and efficiency for Merseyside commerce.

L&D professionals know that about 80% of what people learn on the job is through informal means, but most are only starting to consider ways of harnessing social learning to deliver business benefits. Vincent Belliveau examines why social learning will continue to be a major trend in 2010, and how it may be integrated into a blended learning

This new report provides a detailed exploration of employee engagement. It reveals that women are more engaged than men and managers are more engaged than non-managers.
Use the report to improve your awareness and understanding of employee engagement.

UK organisations could be wasting an estimated £9.5bn on training each year, according to a new study from KnowledgePool, the managed learning specialist, which finds that a quarter of all training fails to yield a significant performance improvement.In a three-year evaluation study, KnowledgePool has analysed the 'learning outcomes' of over 10,000 learners by questioning them, and their line managers, on the transfer of learning to the workplace and performance improvement.

Cameron launches 'brazenly elitist' plan to woo top talent into teaching while deterring those with third-class degrees

New IT courses to give thousands of adults the skills and confidence they need to go online will be piloted from today, Business Secretary Lord Mandelson announced at the Learning and Technology World Forum. The development of Online basics by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, UK online centres and Becta forms part of the Government’s response to Baroness Estelle Morris’s Review of ICT User Skills, published in June 2009.

Are practitioners getting the right professional development opportunities to make teaching dovetail with today's digital world?

As Mandelson pushes universities to accept promising students without A-levels, Lucy Tobin talks to four young people who got places through less traditional avenues

Durham vice-chancellor sparks anger with suggestion that top institutions should get bigger slice of funding

While the UK restricts funding for the courses older people like to do, at Harvard they have big ideas: don't retire, retrain for a new career

David Wortley takes a look at how the immersive technologies of video games, virtual worlds and social networks might impact learning and development over the next decade.

England's university budgets are being cut by £449m in the next academic year - prompting warnings that thousands could miss out on university places.


A collection of key documents

These resources may contain both links to external websites or links to downloadable files (mostly in PDF format).

Teaching performance is not consistently included in the promotion criteria for academics at UK universities and colleges – and is often completely absent – a new report published today shows.

Despite the vital role that teaching plays in a student’s experience of university, it is research performance that is emphasised in most HEI promotion policies.

They live in swish city-centre apartments, have money in their pockets and work for go-ahead companies. They might not sound like postgraduate students but then theirs is no ordinary degree.

Vocational qualifications make a marked difference to employees’ earnings, but the effect varies widely between sectors and occupations, research has indicated.

Cuts of £600 million to government funding for universities and research have been condemned by the sector as a potential blow to the UK’s recovery from recession.

The idea of running universities like businesses is all very well, but what if the academics don't like it?

Cut in the unit of resource equates to £190 per student. John Morgan and Melanie Newman report

The Government has confirmed that the fresh cuts to higher education funding announced by Lord Mandelson are in addition to the £600 million cuts set out in the pre-Budget report, prompting warnings that £915 million is to be slashed from the sector over three years.

The Learning Practitioners' Association, the voice, marketplace and professional route to excellence for learning practitioners in the UK, has launched its new branding to identify the Association as a distinct and unique body within the learning and development sector.

The European Social Fund (ESF) helps people find work, improves employability skills and provides encouragement to go into further learning and training, a new survey by the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) has found.

As someone who was once homeless, Mary Stuart, the new vice- chancellor of the University of Lincoln, speaks from experience about the transformative power of higher education.

The UK is being overtaken in the international race for a well-qualified workforce, a report from a lecturers' union has said.

Learning Technologies 2010 on 27 and 28 January has announced its conference programme for 2010 with an exciting line up of speakers including keynote addresses from Lord David Puttnam, Josh Bersin and Professor Stephen Heppell

Vice President and Dean for Undergraduate Education at Virginioa Tech,Dr. Daniel Wubah  said: “In about 5-10 years from now, when graduates apply for jobs, companies will not ask for transcripts…they will ask for e-portfolios. We want to start building this from day one. Companies will send an email and say ‘give us access to your e-portfolio.’

Professor Stephen Heppell of Bournemouth University will close Learning Technologies 2010 in January looking at 'why 21st century learning is transforming schools, organisations, companies and markets,' and giving L&D professionals a roadmap for the year ahead.

In the latest release of the PebblePad online Personal Learning System, users are now able to draw upon items they create using common online tools such as Twitter, Blogger, and any other RSS or ATOM enabled system.

New Delhi: Prospective students can now log on to Indira Gandhi National Open University’s (IGNOU) Flexi-Learn at, to pick the subject of their choice and gain education free of cost.

More than 20,000 new students joined the University of the Third Age this year

How will universities train enough nurses to degree level when the drop-out rate for such courses can be as high as 78%?

Last week saw the Pre Budget Report (PBR) and while it was quite a shock (who knew Darling was going to crank up National Insurance contributions??) the smattering of skills training served up certainly leaves a lot to be desired.

Mike Ditchburn takes a look at some of the learning trends of 2009 and what we can look forward to in 2010.

A new set of qualifications for the hospitality industry aims to develop future leaders in the sector, according to the Institute of Hospitality.

The development of level 2, 3 and 4 management qualifications will provide flexible-learning opportunities across the hospitality, leisure and tourism industries.

Evaluation of Train to Gain
The National Audit Office (NAO) has published a report that evaluates the performance of Train to Gain in its first three years. The evaluation looks at the achievements of the Train to Gain service, how it has responded to employer demand for training and also how well the supply of training has been managed. 

Longitudinal Study of Further Education Learners
The Learning and Skills Council (LSC) has published report on a study (by IFF Research) that assesses the longer-term perceived impact of further education (FE) on people who were claiming out-of-work benefits when they embarked upon a course.

Destination of Higher Education Leavers
The Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) has published the latest findings of a longitudinal survey of leavers from higher education (HE) institutions.

Speaking at yesterday's Confederation of British Industry (CBI) conference in London, Rose said that he was extremely concerned about the huge gap between the best and worst-qualified school leavers,

Who has time to think about what teaching means, work out how schools can be more effective and reflect on their strengths and weaknesses? Probably not since the last job interview or application for teacher training.

The Conservatives will scrap Train to Gain if they come to power next year, Personnel Today has learned. Shadow skills minister John Hayes said the government's flagship skills brokerage service was a "massive dead weight cost" and he would look to transfer all of its £1bn budget to other skills projects, such as investing in higher-level skills.

Teachers need to ask themselves who is learning from whom in the race to keep up with technological change and students’ learning expectations, according to further education’s skills body.

'The UK e-learning market 2009', a report by Learning Light, a company limited by guarantee organisation which focuses on promoting the use of e-learning and learning technologies, reveals that - despite the current recession - the UK e-learning and learning technology industry is flourishing.

The Association for Authentic, Experiential and Evidence-Based Learning (AAEEBL), the professional association for the world e-Portfolio community, and the Centre for Recording Achievement, a national network organisation, educational charity and Associate Partner of the Higher Education Academy (UK), are pleased to announce today that the two organisations have agreed on a reciprocal membership arrangement to foster collaboration between themselves and their members.  Having similar interests - in improved learning assessment through new ways to gather assessment data and in the development of lifelong learning skills in reviewing, reflecting and planning to support the achievement of personal goals - the two organisations wish to pursue potential collaborative projects.  This cross-Atlantic reciprocal membership agreement demonstrates the spread of portfolio thinking and practices across the globe, and the collaborative nature of the portfolio community.

Click on the following Employers to view their feedback on PDP.

This consultation is seeking your views on the proposed new Researcher development framework for researchers in the UK.  Anyone can respond to the consultation, but we are particularly keen to receive responses from: 

  • Researchers: anyone conducting research in a UK higher education institution (university or research institute) whether or not this is their primary role
  • Supervisors, Principal Investigators and managers of researchers within HE
  • Higher education institutions (HEIs)
  • Other staff in HEIs including senior managers, trainers, developers, HR and careers advisors        
  • Employers who currently or potentially will recruit researchers from UK HEIs
  • Individuals considering becoming a postgraduate researcher or research staff member
  • Organisations with an interest in developing researchers

The proposed Researcher development framework has been created as a tool for planning, promoting and supporting the personal, professional and career development of researchers in higher education. It describes the knowledge, skills, behaviours and personal qualities of researchers and encourages researchers to aspire to excellence through achieving higher levels of development. 

The consultation will allow you to comment on any or all of the following aspects of the framework:

  • as a national framework for researcher development
  • meeting the development needs of individual researchers and the needs of organisations which support them
  • the current and future skill needs of researchers

Before responding to the consultation we invite you to read the 'Researcher development framework consultation briefing paper'. We welcome responses through an 'Online response form' or alternatively using the 'Consultation proforma' (which can be downloaded and submitted to Researchers can choose to respond to the full consultation or to a survey designed for individual researchers.

The deadline for responses is Friday 11 December 2009.


The average debt owed by university leavers is now £23,000 – a threefold rise since 2002. Beverley D'Silva finds out how two recent graduates have learned to cope with the burden

Many academics fear that new funding proposals will ignore the value of their research

Business secretary wants students and parents to be treated more like customers in proposals to overhaul higher education

The report, the culmination of a year's work by the CBI higher education taskforce - comprising both business and universities - says that the rapid rise in student numbers, coupled with a severe strain on public finances, makes current public funding levels unsustainable. The UK's HE sector is one of the most successful in the world, and the report acknowledges that universities are a "vital public good". Business needs excellent universities to produce the graduates, postgraduates, research and innovation that are required to drive economic growth and prosperity.

HEFCE has welcomed the CBI Higher Education Task Force report recommending a stronger relationship between higher education and business.

Has the government's long-awaited vision for universities been lost in the post? When is Lord Mandelson going to launch the review of student fees?

And are these two related?

Lord Mandelson says he expects students to adopt a more consumer-led approach to their university education.

Graduates turn to public sector as unemployment reaches highest in 12 years

Though Blackboard's critics have worried the company might monopolize the market for e-learning tools, competition continues to surface -- notably from companies that once were more focused on the administrative side of campus computing.

Corporate training will fail to meet the needs of 21st century businesses unless it catches up with rapid development opportunities in online learning, warns Gilly Salmon from the University of Leicester’s Beyond Distance Research Alliance.

The University of Brighton is taking advantage of the fact that an increasing number of students own portable devices and media players such as iPhones and iPod Touch by creating video learning content compatible with them.

A ground-breaking scheme to record and promote optometrists learning beyond CET’s ‘entry level standard’ was launched in London last week.

Baroness Deech, the former head of the Office of the Independent Adjudicator, once likened studying for a university degree to going to the gym: you pay your money, but you have to put in the work to get fit. Now her analogy has been given a further dimension by the University of Sunderland, which has launched a lifelong-learning scheme that follows the model of gym membership.

Open Learn, an offshoot of the Open University (OU), is in the vanguard of a new era of education. Short-circuiting tuition fees and over-priced student flats, Open Learn offers expert material, accessible via the internet, free to anyone, anywhere.

The CII (Chartered Insurance Institute) has published a paper to inform its members and other interested parties about the key issues facing CPD today.

If you’re responsible for CPD in school, you’ll find lots of free staff training materials on Teachers TV and they’ve just launched a new feature that allows your staff to keep an electronic record of the Teachers TV programmes they watch online throughout the year.

The £5.6 million scheme to help teachers bring technology even more effectively into the classroom now has a name, and collaboration with existing providers and practitioners is underway ahead of the programme's much-anticipated official launch in January 2010

Thousands of further education teachers risk losing their licences to practice by failing to register their continuing professional development (CPD) records for last year, it emerged this week.

Evaluation of Train to Gain
The National Audit Office (NAO) has published a report that evaluates the performance of Train to Gain in its first three years. The evaluation looks at the achievements of the Train to Gain service, how it has responded to employer demand for training and also how well the supply of training has been managed.


Longitudinal Study of Further Education Learners
The Learning and Skills Council (LSC) has published report on a study (by IFF Research) that assesses the longer-term perceived impact of further education (FE) on people who were claiming out-of-work benefits when they embarked upon a course.


Destination of Higher Education Leavers
The Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) has published the latest findings of a longitudinal survey of leavers from higher education (HE) institutions.

The Centre for Recording Achievement

An Associate Partner of the Higher Education Academy (UK) 

in association with: 

The Inter/National Coalition for Electronic Portfolio Research

The National Action Research Network (NARN)

The Scottish PDP Forum


The Second International Residential Seminar


‘Researching and Evaluating

Personal Development Planning and e-Portfolio.’


National College for School Leadership, Nottingham, UK

26-28th April 2010




Electronic portfolios are a rapidly developing global phenomenon.  In the UK, many Higher Education Institutions have chosen to use e-portfolio systems to support the implementation of Personal Development Planning (PDP). PDP supports students in recording and reviewing achievements, reflecting and planning for personal, educational and career development. This approach is highly congruent with other initiatives across the world, such as the AeP project in Australia, the work of SURF in the Netherlands and the recently-formed Association for Authentic, Experiential and Evidence-Based Learning (AAEEBL) in the US. These initiatives use e-portfolio tools to promote self-regulated, personalised or integrative learning, to align assessment with learning and to support transitions.


A recurring theme has been the need for robust evaluation and research evidence to inform decisions about effective e-Portfolio and PDP practices.


Key seminar themes are:

  1. Tutoring, mentoring, coaching for e-portfolio and PDP practice.
  2. The development of identity and autonomy (inc. self-regulation/personalised learning).
  3. Engagement: student, staff and community perspectives (inc. staff/ professional development, employability).
  4. Supporting integrative and reflective learning (inc. co/extra-curricular learning, assessment and feedback, work-based/service learning).
  5. Institutional change (inc. scaling up, achieving institutional transformation, drivers such as retention, progression, inclusion, achievement).
  6. Researching e-portfolios and personal development planning: tools, methods, approaches.


As with the first highly successful international seminar held in Oxford in 2006, this event will bring together international researchers, practitioners and HE managers to further develop a community of practice that will:


  • share critically evaluated practice amongst e-Portfolio and PDP practitioners;
  • showcase work undertaken by the National Action Research Network for PDP and e-Portfolio and the Inter/National Coalition for Electronic Portfolio Research;
  • continue to build research capacity by supporting emergent research and researchers;
  • encourage a critique of current research, monitoring and evaluation practices;
  • facilitate further discussion of appropriate research and evaluation methods;
  • contribute a robust evidence-base to underpin the effective implementation and use of e-Portfolios and PDP.


It will be intentionally inclusive: submissions and participation are invited from both established and emergent researchers. Studies employing various methodologies are welcome, from case studies of individual students and cohorts of staff, to large cross-institutional studies linked to retention and graduation data.  We aim to provide an environment that is supportive, developmental and scholarly, within a comfortable, purpose-built residential conference centre. See for further details of the venue.


Conference proposals should take one of the following forms:


1.     Trigger Paper – these half-hour sessions will briefly synthesise current research, raise a key research and evaluation question, propose a novel research methodology or present research in progress [10mins] as a trigger for structured discussion [20 mins]. 

2.      Research report – these half-hour sessions will report [20 mins report plus 10mins for questions] on completed PDP and e-Portfolio research and evaluation projects addressing one or a number of the themes listed above. 

3.      Symposium – these ninety-minute sessions will bring together a number of short inputs on a similar theme to allow more detailed discussion and/or workshop activities. Groups might wish to collaborate to offer symposia; alternatively, the organisers reserve the option of grouping contributions together around a common theme.




‘Researching and EvaluatingPersonal Development Planning and e-Portfolios’

Proposal Form: Call for Contributions


Proposals, in electronic format only, should be submitted to Cath Hewson at the Centre for Recording Achievement ( by Wednesday16th December 2009.


1. Include the following presenter information. Place an asterisk beside the name of the contact person for a session involving more than one person:



Address for correspondence:

Post/ZIP Code:




2. List the seminar theme(s) addressed:


3. Indicate the proposal type


  1. trigger paper (30 minutes)


  1. research report (30 minutes)


  1. symposium (90 minutes)


4. Include in a session description (300 words or less) the following information:

a. Session title


b. Session outline (key points to be made or issues to be discussed)


c. For trigger papers and symposia, how attendees will be engaged (structure and activities)


d. References (key literature or resources important to the session’s content)


5. Identify IT or audio visual requirements (Data projector and laptop as standard. If other equipment is required, please request it here and provide a rationale for why it is necessary to your session’s activities).


Feedback on proposals will be provided in January 2010. Successful proposals will be included in the Seminar Handbook, which will be sent to all participants before the event.


Our staff are dedicated to making the Centre for Recording Achievement projects work, we thought it would be great to publish staff photographs so you can put a face to the names.

Office Team

Rob Ward

CRA Director, responsible for the overall work programme of the Centre and for helping to define strategic aims and objectives.

Rob Ward

Cath Hewson

Office Supervisor – Responsible for all aspects of CRA finance and office management. Senior contact for events and queries, and supervisor of all CRA staff.

Cath Hewson

Amy Marsden

Website Administrator –Responsible for maintaining and updating the CRA website and mailing lists, as well as events administration. The CRA office first aider.

Amy Marsden

Adam Woolhead

Project Administrator – Providing office support for the HEFCE HE5P project, and events administration.

Adam Woolhead

Out of office


Janet Strivens

Senior Associate Director, and Joint Director of the HE5P Project.

Janet Strivens

David Pierce

Associate Director - CPD

David Pierce

John Peters

Associate Director – Research

john Peters

Click here for details of our trustees

Universities have been accused of "bribing" students with marks simply for attending seminars, a move critics say encourages them to adopt casual and cynical attitudes to academic work.

But cautious report comes in for immediate condemnation by chair of universities' select committee

Mercy College in the U.S. today announced that its first in the nation professional one-on-one mentoring program is being expanded this fall to include more than half of the incoming freshman class

A survey by OnePoll suggests businesses need to rethink learning to optimise employee skills and talents. The survey questioned over 2,000 employees across eight countries in Europe and found them thirsty for knowledge and ready to learn, but with traditional training methods not quite hitting the mark

When Firefighter Sam Wood, of the West Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Service, logged on to E►nable, the learning management solution from Ilkley's Virtual College, she triggered an alert as the 250,000th registered learner on the system.

Clive Shepherd and Laura Overton take a look back over learning technology's recent history and argue that trainers need to get with the times.

Teenagers are rejecting the government's new diploma courses because they view them as too narrowly focused on particular jobs, researchers say.

Tech can lift the UK out of recession - but old fashioned attitudes and bored school kids aren't helping,39024671,39532787,00.htm

 This link to the FE section of the Midlands e-portfolios Group includes a useful article by Geoff Rebbeck on using e-portfolios in FE and details of the next RSC e-prtfolios event on 11th November at the  University of Derby

Earth science tutors at the University of Bristol have said they will continue to teach lifelong learning courses - in spite of the university's decision to close these programmes because of reduced public funding.

With experiential learning gaining a strong-hold in the L&D arena, managers that aren't exploiting its potential are missing a trick, says Charles Jennings.

Thousands of nurses and midwives in Scotland whose registration has lapsed are being asked to consider returning to work to help deal with a potential surge in the swine flu pandemic.

Memberwise has updated its guide to good CPD practice


The Chartered Insurance Institute has published a discussion paper about CPD which it considers to be at the heart of what it means to be professional. The purpose of the paper is to inform members and other interested parties about the key issues facing CPD today which ‘has been seen by some to be a matter of compliance – just another box to tick.’

The CIPD has launched a new code of practice to ensure that a government drive to expand internships does not harm the quality of placements given by employers.

Dr Karen Becker explains how to get colleagues to embrace elearning and avoid the seven deadly sins.

This paper from the Institute of Education explores the use of e-portfolio tools to support teaching, learning and the personal and professional development of postgraduate students at the Institute. The needs of tutors and students are considered alongside the affordances and limitations of specific tools in relation to these needs.

This is a formal review meeting with a Year 1 student. Before the meeting the tutor has no particular concerns about this student.

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This is an unscheduled meeting (‘drop-in’), the latest of several, with a personal tutee. The tutor is concerned that the student has unrealistic expectations of him.



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This is a regular supervision meeting with a dissertation student. The tutor is aware that the student is behind schedule.



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This is a formal review meeting with a Year 1 student. The tutor is concerned at the student’s obvious under-performance but does not know the reasons for this.


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This is an end-of-year formal review meeting with a Year 1 student. The tutor is a little concerned that the student demonstrates under-developed skills in some key areas in relation to her stated career choice. 



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Thursday, September 25, 2008

High drop out rates can directly impact the effectiveness of e-learning. This paper addresses why learners fail to finish e-learning courses. It provides practical tips, real-world examples and top ten tips that will increase completion rates and add to the success of e-learning within your organisation.

Top 10 tips for making e-learning work

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Paul Lambert examines some of the key factors shaping the workforce, the implications for how a workforce learns and how learning and development (L&D) can address these issues.

L&D: Just trainers or developing the future workforce?

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Latest research reveals sustained growth in the use of continuous professional development (CPD) by UK professional bodies.

Survey reports continued growth in CPD importance

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Is your voice being heard at school? Elizabeth Hartnell-Young explains how a project undertaken by a team at Nottingham University revealed that teachers and students have a lot to say about the learning process, and that they should be heard

Giving pupils and teachers a voice

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Schools have enlisted the help of online report cards and text message alerts to keep parents informed of their children's progress

Stay in touch through technology

Monday, September 15, 2008

September 9, 2008 sees 'Effective Practice with e-Portfolios', the newest guide in the JISC Effective Practice series, being launched at ALT-C in Leeds. The publication explores good practice in the use of e-portfolios as a support for learning. It is being launched in conjunction with an e-portfolios infoKit4 which covers the main drivers, purposes, processes, perspectives and issues around e-portfolio use created by JISC infoNet."The infoKit and publication draw together the lessons that we have learnt through the many excellent initiatives in this area and highlight some emerging practice that can inspire us as we move forward in the coming years."

e-Portfolios: Tools for 21st Century Learning

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

With funding from the HEFCE, CRA will be leading a new project focussed upon the development of policy for the Higher Education sector in e-portfolio practice to support employer engagement and workforce development. This Project will directly and systematically support policy development for the HE sector by ensuring that the learning and support needs of part-time, discontinuous, work-based learners are given full recognition alongside more traditional learners.

Employer Engagement and e-Portfolios - A new National Project to inform National Policy

Monday, August 18, 2008

My-E (My Education) is a prototype online visual environment that can support very young students to explore and express their own personal learning experiences, interests and aims. The software application allows young children (aged 5 and 6) to construct stories about their learning experiences and preferences through multi-layered representations (such as shapes, icons and sounds), which teachers, adults and parents/carers help them to develop. The aim of this is to encourage children, parents/carers and teachers/adults to be more involved in rich conversations about learning that can help foster greater links between homes and schools and support a more personalised educational approach.


Thursday, August 14, 2008

High drop out rates can directly impact the effectiveness of e-learning. This paper addresses why learners fail to finish e-learning courses. It provides practical tips, real-world examples and top ten tips that will increase completion rates and add to the success of e-learning within your organisation.

Top Ten tips for making e-Learning Work

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Elliot Masie reports from America on the rise in social learning and the challenges it poses for the global education and training community.

Social learning: An emerging trend

Thursday, August 14, 2008

The Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) has provided Anglia Ruskin University and Harper Adams University College with a total of more than 11 million that will enable them to provide new services to businesses.

HEFCE provides 11 million to support workforce development

Thursday, August 14, 2008

On Wednesday 18th July, the Government unveiled major new plans for making our nation a world class leader in skills by 2020, aimed at creating new opportunities for citizens and businesses, and delivering prosperity for all. The plan, World Class Skills: implementing the Leitch Review of Skills in England is the Governments response to the independent Leitch Review of Skills and sets out how Government will lead the country into a skills revolution.

World Class Skills: Implementing the Leitch review of skills in England

Thursday, August 14, 2008

In March 2006 the Government published the Further Education Reform White Paper - Raising Skills, Improving Life Chances. The White Paper set out a programme of change in the Further Education system needed to realise the potential of Further Education as the powerhouse of a high skills economy, with the ability to deliver the Government's skills ambition. This update sets out progress made in delivering these changes and taking forward the recommendations from the Foster Review of 2005.

Governement Unveils Ambitious Plan For Skills

Friday, August 01, 2008

Teachers at both state and private schools can exploit the positive uses of popular social networking sites. This is according to a report produced by Childnet International, which suggests that school staff should be taught how to take advantage of the possible educational uses of sites such as Facebook and Bebo. Examples include encouraging pupils to create e-portfolios of their work, as well as setting up groups where children can discuss what they have learned in their lessons. The report was funded by the government's technology in learning body Becta.

Education can be boosted with social networking, says report

Friday, August 01, 2008

We asked the question "what is the added value for the student learning experieince, of electronic portfolios (e-portfolios) as an innovative means of portfolio assessment?" We answered the question using a holistic approach aimed at giving a panoramic perspective on the role of e-portfolios in placement from the point of view of users as well as academics and policy makers. Within the constraints of time and resources, we believe we have made a worthwhile contribution to our primary objective of supportingplacement unit users' capacity to make informed choices about implementation of e-portfolios.

Are e-portfolios an asset to learning and placement?

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Thousands of parents will soon be able to check if their children are at school thanks to a hi-tech 'Big Mother' computer system. Mothers and fathers will also be able to view their children's grades and whether they have handed in their homework or been put on detention using the online networks. The new technology will be officially unveiled by Oxfordshire County Council this morning.

On-line eye on school pupils

Thursday, July 10, 2008

This report from ASET (Association for Sandwich Education and Training) surveys and makes recommendations on innovative methods of placement assessment and has been described as "excellent review of an important and emerging method of assessment of placement learning" and "a seminal piece of work" by the peer reviewers.

Are ePortfolios an asset to learning and placement?

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Teachers and lecturers are getting the lowdown on how to use social networking sites such as Facebook and Bebo in an educational way. Most schools and colleges in the UK block access to the websites but they are missing out on their potential for education, a government-funded guide says.

Facebook a valid educational tool, teachers told

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The Government today set out the details of the transfer of 7 billion to local authorities to help colleges and sixth forms deliver the reforms needed to raise the education and training leaving age to 18. At the same time, Government will direct 4 billion a year through a new agency to provide training and skills for adults, transforming the system to be responsive and demand-led.

New Reforms to improve the delivery of Skills for Adults and Young People

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

In celebration of our 100th issue, here are CPD Weeks 100 top tips for professional learning leaders, gathered from our issues to date. We have themed them for ease of use, so dip into them right now or keep them as a reference for the future. Either way, we hope they ease your load and contribute to your expertise!

100 top tips for successful professional learning

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

New research into the way people learn sheds light on why individuals, and therefore organisations, often seem incapable of learning from their mistakes. The research carried out by learning & development consultancy MaST International, reveals that less than half of those surveyed actually put learning into practice through a specified action plan. For example after the Hatfield train disaster (2000), mistakes are made again just a few years later, such as at Potters Bar (2002).

Managers fail to learn from their mistakes, research reveals

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Do you regard yourself as a learning professional? If so, what are the hallmarks of your professionalism? Do you fall back on a qualification or is professionalism much more than that? If you're not sure, then over the coming months I plan to provide at least one benchmark of what professionalism means to me. This will obviously be a very personal view but it is intended to capture the essence of the ultimate, consummate, learning professional.

The 21st Century learning professional: Let battle commence

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The latest CIPD Learning and Development survey makes grim reading for the governments skills agenda. Almost a year after launching a strategy in response to Lord Leitchs damning review of the UK skills landscape, more than half of organisations (53 per cent) say the new agenda has not influenced them. Moreover, only 13 per cent have signed the governments flagship skills pledge a commitment to develop basic literacy and numeracy skills in all staff.

Partnership working is key to improving graduate skills

Thursday, May 09, 2008

Our panel of experts outline the purpose and benefits of eportfolios for pupils at both primary and secondary level.

Access to work, any time, any place - part 1

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Academic qualifications have a declining role in students' perceptions of what shapes their post graduate employment outcomes, according to research from Cardiff Business School. A qualititive study of final-year undergraduates has found that students see the need to 'add value' to their credentials in an increasingly competitive labour market. This is because the expansion of higher education has meant increased competition in the graduate labour market along with the introduction of tuition fees heightening a sense of the value of higher education. Although students still acknowledge the importance of having a degree, there is no guarantee that it will lead to labour market opportunities.

The full reference of the article is: Tomlinson, M. (2008) 'The degree is not enough': students' perceptions of the role of higher education credentials for graduate work and employability', British Journal of SOciology of Education, 29(1), January, pp.49-61

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Rather than being an idealistic software experiment, the open source Moodle learning management system (LMS) has become a market leader. John Stokdyk looks at the impact it is having on elearning.

Tech Talk:eLearning gets to grips with the moodle effect

Thursday, May 08, 2008

My Dundee ? Online Interactive Learning Environment. My Dundee represents a comprehensive integrated learning system providing on-campus and distance students with excellence in online academic support.

Case Study: University of Dundee- My Dundee? Online Interactive Learning Environment

Thursday, May 08, 2008

"The NES e-Portfolio is an innovative platform providing assessment, reflective practice and competency development in an enhanced electronic environment for a rapidly expanding diversity of health professionals across the NHS. It provides the individual with new opportunities for learning, improves communication and promotes consistency and quality assured learning. The medium offers efficiency savings with automated analysis and reporting and is advantageous for remote and rural practitioners, providing them with an equitable and localised educational platform. Not only does this system accommodate the mobility of healthcare professionals but it supports workforce planning and quality assurance by providing a rich source of data about process and activity."

Case Study: NHS Education for Scotland ePortfolio

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Ignoring the headlines about degrees in flipping burgers and shelf stacking, brand giants like McDonalds and Tesco have quietly got on with a ground breaking initiative designed to give employees the chance to gain qualifications at work. Students on pilot schemes will finish their first year in just a few months time. Annie Hayes looks at how the degrees are shaping up.

Degrees of Honour: The qualifications 'to go'

Thursday, May 08, 2008

What can offbeat and experiential training methods add to the L&D mix? And what do organisations stand to lose if the trend towards more creative approaches goes into reverse, due to training budget cuts? Dawn Smith takes a look at the more unusual side of training.

Whacky Training: Do unconventional methods really work?

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

The Professional Associations Research Netwrok (PARN) is a non-profit membership organisation for professional bodies. It defines itself as a 'research-enriched network' with the object, according to its memorandum of asscoiation:

"to increase the profile of issues relating to professionals, professionalism and professional associations through research and networking with the aim of determining and promoting professional good practice."

This research was funded by the Department for Innovations, Universities and Skills under the 'Gateways to the Professions' Fund. The project ran from 1st April 2007 to 31st March 2008 and incorporated one day of a two day event entitled 'Strengthening Partnerships Between Professional Bodies, Sector Skills Councils and Higher Education Institutions' which was held in London on 7th and 8th February 2008. The research was conducted by PARN in partnership with Amanda Selvaratnam of the UK Universities CPD Network, a structured national network of CPD managers from all HEIs in the UK.

The overall aim of the research was to encourage mutually beneficial links in terms of better communication and understanding as well as joint working between professional bodies and higher education institutions and other education and training suppliers in relation to CPD.

Linking Profesionnal Associations with HEIs in relation to the provision of CPD

Friday, April 04, 2008

Government-backed careers advice for youngsters and adults is patchy and needs improvement, research suggests. A team of "mystery shoppers" rated as "inadequate" face-to-face advice given to young people in Connexions centres. They found adult careers services offered by Nextstep to those with few qualifications were usually poor.

Worry over 'patchy career advice'

Friday, March 27, 2008

Figures from the ICAEW's membership database show that the number of UK sole practitioners has been in severe decline for a decade. Between 1998 and 2008 numbers have more than halved. For many the information only confirms long held suspicions that the sole pracititoner is becoming an endangered animal.

Death of the Sole Practitioner

Friday, March 07, 2008

Academic qualifications have a declining role in students' perceptions of what shapes their post-graduateemployment outcomes, according to research from Cardiff Business School. A qualitative study of final-year undergraduates has found that students see the need to 'add-value' to their credentials in an increasingly competitive labour market. This is because the expansion of higher education has meant incresed competition in the graduate labour market along with the introduction of tuition fees heightening a sense of the value of higher education. Although students still acknowledge the importance of having a degree, there is no guarantee that it will lead to labour market opportunities. The full reference of the article is: Tomlinson, M. (2008) 'The degree is not enough': students' perceptions of the role of higher education credentials for graduate work and emploability', British Journal of Sociology of Education, 29(1), January, pp.49-61)

Friday, March 07, 2008

The government's plan to create 20 new higher education centres has received a cautious welcome from students and lecturers.

Cautious welcome to University Campus Expansion

Friday, March 07, 2008

Andrew Mayo argues that competency frameworks have lost touch with reality and have become far too 'narrow' and far too powerful.

How competency frameworks have lost the plot

Friday, March 07, 2008

CPD in February? Well, why not? The 2007 declarations are out of the way. You are on the home stretch deadline-wise. It might be time to start reminding yourself of your tentative CPD plans for the year. But have you asked yourself recently, what exactly is it? CPD, that is. Take the DTIs description: CPD is defined as the holistic commitment to structured skills enhancement and personal or professional competence.

The other P in CPD

Friday, March 07, 2008

Corporate coaching may be the popular new boy on the block, says Garry Platt, but should we be welcoming it quite so naively and with no strings attached?

Coaching: A faster way to lose money than burning it

Friday, March 07, 2008

Alison Kitson, programme leader in CPD at the TDA, discusses the kinds of questions that you might wish to ask if you were beginning to draw up a role specification for a leader or director of professional learning

Leading CPD in Schools

Friday, March 07, 2008

Digication Inc., a leading provider of e-Portfolios, announced the Admissions e-Portfolio Solution, a new solution for college and university admissions departments. This easy-to-use Web-based tool harnesses the power of Digication e-Portfolios and enables students to submit their work and school administrators to review application materials for admission within the e-Portfolio environment. The School of the Art Institute of Chicago applicants are the first to submit their artwork via e-Portfolios.

Digication Unveils Admissions e-Portfolio Solution for Schools

Friday, March 07, 2008

There was widespread derision when three private sector companies announced they had been granted the right to award their own nationally recognised qualifications, the majority centred on McDonalds. Matt Henkes discards the McJoke headlines and looks at the facts.

McQualifications: Would you like some perspective with that?

Friday, March 07, 2008

The UK's skills shortage is costing the country billions of pounds - and all eyes are on Chris Humphries to help solve it. Louisa Peacock reports.

Interview with Chris Humphries, Cheif Executive of Commission for Employment and Skills

Monday, October 13, 2008

Brown University's 'new curriculum adopted in 1969 at the height of '60s-era reforms of higher education -requires very little. Students must demonstrate writing competence, finish a major, complete four years' worth of courses and pay their bills. While the university has always encouraged students to consider the values of general education or science or languages or any number of other educational priorities, students have had teh freedon largely to create their own curriculum. With the new curriculum approaching middle age, Brown is the midst of what many view as a significant overhaul and it aims to exploit the use of e-portfolios.

Reforming the requirement-Free Curriculum

Monday, October 13, 2008

Is your voice bring heard at school? Elizabeth Hartnell-Young explains how a project undertaken by a team at Nottingham University revealed that teachers and students have a lot to say about the learning process, and that they should be heard.

Giving Pupils and Teachers a voice

Monday, October 20, 2008

Journal of General Education has published a special issue on eportfolios which includes articles from Ohio State, the University of Georgia, Alverno College, and George Mason University.

The Journal of General Education

Monday, October 27, 2008

The overarching aim of the Australian ePortfolio Project was to examine the current levels of ePortfolio practice in Australian higher education. The research findings revealed that there was a high level of interest in the use of ePortfolios in the context of higher education, particularly in terms of the potential to help students become reflective learners who are conscious of their personal and professional strengths and weaknesses, as well as to make their existing and developing skills more explicit.

Final Project Report (August 2008)

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

'Upper second' isn't enough detail for students and employers, now that higher education is a greater financial investment than ever, says Bob Burgess.

We need first class information on degrees

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

NUS has published the results of a ground breaking research project into UK students' experiences and expectations before and during their studies. The in-depth report, which was funded and conducted in association with HSBC, covers everything from choosing a course and university to student employment and bullying.

NUS Student Experience Report 2008

Monday, December 08, 2008

CETL formative evaluation report is now available on the HEFCE website.

HEFCE Evaluation Report

Monday, January 05, 2009

Still think that students enjoy a laidback, fun loving, carefree existence? Think again. Early reports from the Futuretrack survey reveal that a new picture has emerged. Students in 2007 are highly focussed individuals: concerned about their long-term employment prospects with a resolute aim to study a particular subject and a strong ambition to realise their full potential. HECSU manager Jane Artess and Futuretrack research leader Professor Kate Purcell were invited by Webchats to talk more about the development of the modern student.

Students: idle layabouts or career focussed?

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

The research report, Beyond Known Unknowns: a further exploration of the demand for higher level skills from businesses, is published today (7th January) by independent think-tank CFE. The research builds on previous research from CFE that found universities deliver more higher level skills training to businesses than training providers in the private sector. Although universities were found to dominate the market for delivering traditional academic qualifications, businesses were more likely to use providers in the private sector to deliver vocational or professional training. Beyond Known Unknowns explores the reasons for this in more detail.

Based on consultations with a cross-section of 76 businesses, the report found there to be little awareness of the diversity that exists within the higher education sector. Universities are primarily viewed as providers of academic qualifications, delivered in a traditional chalk and talk way. Contrastingly, private sector providers are closely associated with the delivery of vocational and professional training. They are also perceived to offer more relevant provision, be more flexible and responsive in their delivery and offer better value for money than universities.

Businesses observed that many of the innovative delivery methods being developed by universities already come as standard in the private sector. The challenge for universities is to deliver to the same standard as the private sector and differentiate on the basis of brand, quality and qualification. Quality is where the majority of businesses perceive universities to have a distinct competitive advantage over private training providers. Universities have a well-established reputation as the foremost provider of high quality, rigorous provision. It is important for universities to develop a more flexible approach to delivery without compromising this quality.

The research also suggests that qualifications are important to businesses. Universities have the potential to grow their share of the vocational and professional training market by embracing credit accumulation and transfer, and delivering bite-sized learning. Contrastingly, the accreditation of in-house training and prior experiential learning will continue to have a limited appeal to businesses unless the processes involved can be significantly streamlined.

James Kewin, Director of Skills and Innovation at CFE said: To penetrate the vocational and professional training markets many universities will have to make fundamental changes to the content and delivery of their provision. There is now an expectation that training can be tailored to the needs of an individual business and delivered at a time and place that is convenient to the employer.

The challenge for universities is to develop a more flexible approach to delivery without compromising the quality of course content. Copies of CFEs report Beyond Known Unknowns: a further exploration of the demand for higher level skills from businesses are available to download free on CFEs website here. The first stage of CFEs research into the demand for higher level skills Known Unknowns: the demand for higher level skills from businesses is also available to download here.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The British honours degree system was born 200 years ago. But it is about to die. And that death will be recognised globally as a failure of British higher education. The problem, as was recently acknowledged by Peter Williams, the chief executive of the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA), is that our system of classed honours is now "rotten" and "based on arbitrary and meaningless measures".

Deflated Degrees

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The QCA has re-launched its 14-19 Learning Website. It acts as a hub page for all key 14-19 stakeholders and provides a one stop shop for all things 14-19 by linking to all other relevant pages within QCA online. The website allows easy access to a library of relevant documentation, presentations and guidance. It also includes an easily navigable case study search facility that allowa users to access illustrations of good practice.

QCA 14-19 Learning Website

Monday, March 16, 2009

The NHS Education for Scotland (NES) e-Portfolio is a web-based system that supports assessment, reflective practice and competency development for a rapidly expanding range of health professionals across the NHS. In August 2008 the system was launched on an advanced new platform that provided wide ranging enhancements for all users.

Case study: NHS Education for Scotland - NHS e-Portfolio

Monday, March 16, 2009

An online career-building website has launched a new higher education tool-set, which aims to improve graduate employability. Abintegro has also signed an agreement with Regents College London under which students will use the new system to build their CVs and personal development plans.

Online system aims to boost graduates' job chances

Monday, March 16, 2009

From the intricacies of a pay review to the disappearance of a pint of milk no subject is off limits on Westminster councils online staff discussion board. HR director Graham White speaks about how he has used Web 2.0 to boost engagement

Taking in the views

Monday, March 16, 2009

Last Wednesday at the annual meeting of the Association of the American Colleges and Universities, academic administrators from all over the country strongly voiced their opinions on the issue and more are in favor of eradicating grades rather than keeping them.

An end to grades?

Monday, April 06, 2009

In the 1990s elearning was the bright new hope in L&D, promising time- and cost-efficient training, but in reality it promised far more than it could deliver at the time. Ten years on and elearning appears to be casting off its tarnished image and enjoying a resurgence in popularity. Donald H Taylor assesses the lessons learned over the last decade, and asks what next for elearning?

Does e-learning have a future?

Monday, April 06, 2009

Poor quality, un-engaging online learning programmes are severely damaging the reputation of elearning as an extremely effective training tool, says Debbie Jones, and the failure by organisations and training managers to assess the benefits of new elearning technologies will have long-lasting and painful repercussions for many UK organisations.

The brave new future of e-learning

Monday, April 06, 2009

Casey Leaver, the Internal Communications Manager for Ofqual, the new independent qualifications and exams regulator describes how blogging can help to crerate a more efficient, more collaborative, and closer knit working environment within organisations.

Social Capital and Knowledge Exchange: Blogging inside the enterprise

Monday, April 06, 2009

The Institute for Learning (IfL) was formed in 2002 after three research studies identified a desire among FE teachers for a professional body to represent them in England. Sue crowley, Chair of the IfL reviews progress.

Professional Development a key focus for FE body

Monday, April 06, 2009

While FE lecturers have a new training and licensing system, university lecturers have got their own act together, with continuing professional development their next priority.

Stamp of Approval for Universities

Monday, April 06, 2009

Struggling with your CPD programme? Youre not the only one, according to new research by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA). The bodys latest CPD Benchmarking Report shows that although demand for professional development programmes is growing, they are not as widely available as expected and are often not being implemented or monitored in the correct way.

CPD is missing the target, says ACCA

Monday, April 06, 2009

A significant number of businesses across the UK are failing to implement the most cost-effective continuous professional development (CPD) programmes for their finance employees, it has been revealed.

Employers failing to make best use of professional training, ACCA reports

Monday, April 06, 2009

With tax season over, many practitioners will turn their attention to professional development. Nigel Harris puts the case for online courses and presents an overview of current providers.

Online CPD

Monday, April 06, 2009

Tom Boydell explains some of his current work on learning organisations in the social care sector.

Learning Organisations

Monday, April 06, 2009

Instead of spending money on tutor-led courses, should firms be allocating the budget to tools that enable staff to help themselves? Yes, according to Vaughan Waller, who believes that the technology is finally available to ensure that informal learning can become the dominant source of learning and development.

It's official, the training course is dead!

Monday, April 06, 2009

- Teacher understanding of Apprenticeships must radically improve for the Government programme to achieve its full potential, according to new research by independent education foundation, Edge.

Apprenticeships: A mystery to teachers!

Monday, April 06, 2009

The Science Museum played host to leading figures in technology for learning from the Further Education (FE) and Skills sector, who gathered for the first ever Next Generation Learning Awards. Presented by broadcaster and comedian Sandi Toksvig, the evening celebrated the creative and innovative use of technology in further education and saw winners across seven categories, including the 'Furthering My Learning Award' voted for by learners themselves.

Celebration of success in Further Education & Skills at Next Generation Learning Awards

Monday, April 06, 2009

Has an archaic approach to education resulted in a 'switched off' generation? As the educational foundation Edge calls for a more practical approach to teaching young people, Cheryl Taylor examines the challenges that face those involved in training and coaching Generation Y as they enter the workforce.

Generation Y: Training a 'switched off' generation

Monday, June 08, 2009

Australian ePortfolio Toolkit

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

The prime minister today scrapped the two-year-old Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills, and awarded all of its responsibilities to a new Department for Business, Innovation and Skills designed to help the UK out of recession. The new department, which will be headed by Lord Mandelson, puts universities at the heart of the government's business policies, and will be opposed by some academics who believe higher education should be in a department dedicated to education and not commerce. In a statement, Downing Street said the move would create a "single department committed to building Britain's future economic strengths".

Mandelson to Run Universities

Brown Scraps Dius

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

A string of cuts and closures leaves the future of adult education unclear. Rebecca Attwood writes in THES.Adult education is "on the verge of extinction" in large swaths of the country, a new report has warned. An 18-month study, carried out for English Heritage, has highlighted a string of cuts and closures of university continuing education departments in recent years.

Lifelong learning 'on verge of extinction' across the UK

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

The NUT has strongly condemned the governments plans, contained within the new education white paper, for teachers to be re-licensed every 5 years from September 2010.




International related links and contacts, coming soon.

Current International case studies and useful materials.

Current International Practice related articles. Coming soon.

As on - Enitre site

Welcome to the Personal Tutoring and PDP website

The materials on this website are aimed at supporting the training of personal tutors who are required to offer personal development planning (PDP) opportunities to their students. They are intended to be helpful to educational and staff developers and trainers for use within workshops, but may also be directly useful as stand-alone materials for staff undertaking the PDP tutor role. Some of the materials will also be relevant to generic personal tutor training and, possibly, the training of mentors.


The top four sections of the site contain downloadable materials. These are in the form of either documents (Word and/or PDF files), which may be used as handouts or background reading; or videoclips. Against each title is a brief explanation of the content and (if appropriate) a suggestion about how it could be used. A specific item may be found under more than one section heading.


This site is designed to grow as more materials are added, so if you have developed resources that you would be willing to share, please contact Janet Strivens (

We would also be very pleased to received feedback on any aspect of the site or the materials.

This is an end-of-year formal review meeting with a Year 1 student. The tutor is a little concerned that the student demonstrates under-developed skills in some key areas in relation to her stated career choice.

We are constantly looking to develop the services provided by our website and would welcome your views. If you have any suggestions for improvements, anything you have found particularly useful or if you have experienced any problems while visiting our site, please contact us by completing the form on the contact page.

Intended to provide meanings to ambiguous words within an educational context. A helpful guide to abbreviations and jargon. Feel free to make suggestions to the glossary, or please contact us if you require clarification on a word meaning.


Apprenticeship – Working for another in order to learn a trade. Usually involves paid practical employment followed by attendance at college/night school to learn theory and gain a formal qualification.

Assessment – Evaluation of work/learning; can be undertaken in various formats e.g. examinations, portfolios, tests, etc.


Blended learning – A mixture of modes of learning, e.g. classroom lectures, online learning at a distance.


CBT – Computer-based training

CMS - Content Management System

CPD – Continuing Professional Development

CV – Curriculum Vitae: a summary of one's education, professional history and job qualifications.


DL – Distance learning: learning undertaken outside the course provider's institution/campus. Usually done online or through self-study books and materials.


e-Learning – Computer and internet-based learning. This includes a range of methods, systems and interactions away from a formal classroom.

e-Portfolio - An electronic document/folder containing information on achievement and/or student development, extracurricular activities, CV, etc.

Employability – Refers to a person's capacity for gaining, maintaining or seeking new employment.


Facilitator – (Within learning), a person who is responsible for leading or co-ordinating the work of a group or individuals.


Graduate - Several meanings within learning. Most commonly: 1. A person who has gained a Bachelors/Professional degree; 2. A student who has passed a specific course/college year.


HE – Higher education (normally refers to universities, but can cover any post-compulsory education).


Intranet – A computer network with restricted access, within a company or organisation that uses software and protocols developed for the Internet.




LMS – Learning Management System Learner - A term used deliberately to differentiate between the traditional ‘student’ (18-25 in university). Can refer to any person in any form of education, formal and/or informal, assessed or un-assessed.


MCQ – Multiple choice question(s)

Mentor – Traditionally, a person who guides and supports. Within education this does not relate necessarily to teaching, but most likely refers to a person who reviews the progress of a student or learner offering help and advice in a variety of contexts.

Module – Within education, a segment of information, topic or other. Interchangeable with the words 'unit' or 'course', etc.




PDP – Personal Development Planning



ROA – Record of Achievement: normally refers to the National Record of Achievement in the UK which was presented to students upon completion of their high school education.


Seminar – Normally a discussion-based meeting of a smaller group of students, led by a tutor.


Tutorial - a class in which a tutor gives intensive instruction in some subject to an individual or a small group of students.


University - An institution for higher learning with teaching and research facilities constituting a graduate school and professional schools awarding master's degrees and doctorates, and an undergraduate division that awards bachelor's degrees.



WBT – Web-based training




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The HE5P project: Employers, HEIs and Learners working in Partnership

The HE5P Project had four overlapping aims.

1.      Collate and analyse existing practices in work-based learning e-portfolio practice(s), specifically via a review of literature and existing practice.

2.      Build capacity to develop and promote best practice in using e-portfolio technology to support employer and learner engagement in higher level learning, specifically via the development and support of a national partnership involving:

  • the Universities of Bedfordshire, Bradford, Cumbria, Leeds Metropolitan, Leicester, Liverpool, Northumbria; Plymouth; Portsmouth and Wolverhampton
  • two professional bodies (Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals and the Institute of Physics) and one Lifelong Learning Network (the Greater Manchester Strategic Alliance).

3.      Disseminate key lessons and experiences which will inform/shape policy and transfer practice.

4.      Provide an evidence base and national e-portfolio specification to contribute to policy and practice to ensure the effective implementation of the employer/employee engagement agenda, via data collection and reporting and the provision of an Information Architecture Model.

 Underlying the Project was the proposition that "e-portfolio practice has the capacity to provide the 'glue' in the development of such provision, connecting key stakeholders (employer/workplace mentor, employee/learner and academic/institutional support) and facilitating learning and assessment".

 Project 'outputs' provided:

  • A short Report
  • ‘Scenarios’ based on current practice but envisioning future developments, designed to illustrate different learning experiences and institutional settings
  • An Information Architecture Model showing optimal information flows between systems and actors to achieve maximum administrative efficiency together with quality learning experiences (cross-referenced to the scenarios).

An Information Architecture Model showing optimal information flows between systems and actors to achieve maximum administrative efficiency together with quality learning experiences (cross-referenced to the scenarios).

Interested in the benefits of engaging with the higher education sector? Click here to find illustrations of practice and resources.

Higher education institutions
Interested in how you can engage successfully with employers, and how an effective e-portfolio system can facilitate this? Click here for illustrations of practice and resources.

1.5 Tutorials

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Tuesday, August 04, 2009

House of Commons, Innovation, Universities,Science and Skills Committee Students and Universities Eleventh Report of Session 200809 The Innovation, Universities, Science & Skills Committee The Innovation, Universities, Science & Skills Committee is appointed by the House of Commons to examine the expenditure, administration and policy of the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills.

PDF Download

ednesday, July 08, 2009

John Denham wrote on 7th May 2009 to the Chair of the Learning and Skills Council, to set out how the 2009 Budget affects the further education and skills sector in 2010-11.

Letter to the LSC

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

A flexible national training and development programme for CPD leadership will be available to CPD leaders and those aspiring to become CPD leaders from September 2009.

CPD Zone

1.2.3 Case Studies API Google Maps


1.1.1 Becoming a client