SPONSORED: NCFE develops 2020 vision for technical education in schools

At NCFE, we understand that every pupil, just like every school, is different and that the traditional academic curriculum may not help everyone achieve their full potential.

Our comprehensive schools offer includes our flagship V Cert qualifications for 14-16 year olds which are a technical alternative to GCSEs, holding DfE performance points and recognised in the Progress 8 Measure. V Certs are the right choice for pupils who are motivated and challenged by learning through hands-on experiences and through content which is directly related to those experiences. They offer equivalent levels of rigour and challenge to a GCSE with clear progression routes and career pathways.

This has been a year unlike any other, where assumptions about the schools calendar cannot be made. This was made clear as we saw what would have been a usual qualification submission window pass us by without ever even opening.

Many Awarding Organisations have had mixed success with meeting requirements and navigating the DfE approval windows process. Despite this, NCFE is delighted to announce 19 qualifications gaining approval in the Department for Education (DfE) 2019 Performance Tables. Amongst the approved courses are our technical qualifications in Fashion and Textiles, Materials Technology, and Health and Fitness – all of which provide practical knowledge and skills to equip learners for their future careers.

After a tentative wait, we’ve received the news that the 2020 Department for Education (DfE) performance tables will be opening this year for submissions. The technical guidance, we are told, will be released soon. Whilst the details remain very vague, we are committed to further developing a robust and comprehensive technical offer for schools that meets the requirements of governing bodies and of schools, teachers and pupils. We’re reminding the department about the impact of their decisions on the work of teachers and schools, especially to consider timings of announcements that have a huge effect on the qualifications that schools can offer to their pupils.

Whilst we await the technical guidance, we are continuing to review our qualification model to make sure that it really does meet all of your needs. With that in mind, we’d like to share our vision for technical qualifications in 2020.

Time and resources are at a premium in schools, so we’d like to see workload and lesson planning reduced, in relation to our qualifications for schools. As we review our qualification models for 2020, we are developing combined level qualifications that support your pupils to achieve a level based upon their attainment throughout the course. With the ability to teach classes of mixed ability, you’ll have more time to prepare pupils for their assessments and portfolio work.

Another driver of the combined teaching model is instilling motivation in your pupils through effective target setting and enabling those pupils who reach a level 1 pass in the external assessment to still be able to achieve a level 2 overall.

We understand that exams and tests can be stressful and although a pupil may be capable and knowledgeable, anxiety can impact their ability to perform. We’re changing our external assessment model to allow pupils to be recognised for their breadth and depth of knowledge presented throughout the external assessment and not reduced to the lowest common level.

We want to help schools to provide pupils with a broad and balanced curriculum delivered through V Certs, which are high quality, reputable qualifications supported by enhanced teaching materials and a good range of exemplar resources.

Despite the changing landscape surrounding technical education, we are passionate about empowering learners to choose the path that is best for them. We want to highlight the importance of diversity in learning because the world is changing so rapidly. New technologies and sectors are emerging every year so we need to give schools and pupils the opportunity to embrace change in learning and let them know that there is not just one route to success.

If you’d like to know more about our qualifications for schools please refer to our handy summary guide and our website.

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