John Ufot, a UKAPES supporter with several years teaching experience in top selective schools in Southeast England convened a conference themed Education Matters Conference on 22nd February 2020 in the Barnfield Community Hub, Plumstead, London. Below is his report:
As part of its continuous effort to ensure that parents and communities keep abreast with the UK education system and the new education policy, BEP Education (one of the top out-of-school settings providing supplementary education to students in primary, secondary and post-16 colleges) organised Education Matters conference 2020 to empower and create awareness to both parents and students on the new T-level qualification introduced by the UK government and secondly to discuss other relevant education matters.
The new technical qualifications were first announced by Philip Hammond, then chancellor, in the 2017 Spring Budget as part of a wider series of reforms stemming from the government’s Post-16 Skills Plan. They are expected to replace around 13,000 technical qualifications at level 3, with the introduction of the first three subjects in 50 FE providers and schools from September 2020.
The Education Matters conference 2020 declared open by Cllr. Danny Thorpe, the Leader of The Royal Borough of Greenwich was graced by many councillors across The Royal Borough of Greenwich including the Deputy Leader Cllr David Gardner, Cllr Ivis Williams, Cllr Anthony Okereke and Cllr Ann-Marie Cousins and other important guests. The conference started at exactly 12.00noon with a Councillor’s Surgery. It was encouraging to see parents and residents who came out in good numbers to meet and discuss issues of personal interest with the local councillors.
The keynote speaker at the conference was Joyce Elemson – the co-founder of UKAPES and the Curriculum Manager at Lewisham College. Joyce who started by exploring the reasons behind the introduction of the new T-Level qualifications spoke eloquently and convincingly on how beneficial the new qualification will be to our young people after their GCSEs. Using current data from the UK population chart, she explained that the ever increasing number of young people, 1.3 million in total, from which 600,000 youths classified as NEET (Not in Education, Employment or Training) is a subject of great concern to the government and hence the need to introduce qualifications that will not only offer young people the opportunity to proceed to university but, equip them with the necessary employability skills. The new qualification which is designed in partnership with businesses will cover 25 subjects with 3 subjects starting in September 2020 in selected pilot colleges and schools. In her speech, Joyce informed parents and other attendees at Barnfield Community Hub that the new qualification is a two year course and is equivalent to 3 A-Levels. She also explained the structure, compulsory elements and UCAS tariff of the new T-Level qualification.
Joyce explained that T Levels are based on the same standards as apprenticeships designed by employers. The new course will involve 1,800 hours of study over two years and a 45-day work placement within a business. Joyce explained that children and young people are very different in their abilities. Some are very academic and determined to proceed to sixth form to study for A-Level qualification and then to university immediately. After their A -level qualification, some students drop out completely if they fail to meet the grades for HE study. Therefore, this new qualification provides an alternative for students to study for a qualification that is equivalent to 3 A-Levels with UCAS tariff that will help them proceed to university after the two years or go straight into employment. The UCAS tariff is as follows:
|UCAS Tariff points||T Level overall grade||A Level|
|168||Distinction* (A* on the core and distinction in the occupational specialism)||AAA*|
|96||Pass (C or above on the core)||CCC|
|72||Pass (D or E on the core)||DDD|
More information on T levels can be found here .
T-Levels compulsory elements:
- A Technical qualification which included core skills, theory and concepts for the industry area
- Occupational skills and knowledge career
- An industry placement with an employer
- A minimum standard of grade 4 in Maths and English
Cllr Ann-Marie in her presentation spoke on home – school partnership and encouraged parents to get involved in their children’s education and try to develop a good relationship with the school and teachers at all levels. She added that, this is the only way parents can know what is going on and what their children are doing in school. Research has shown that students whose parents get involved and work in partnership with their school/teachers are more likely to behave well in school than those without parental involvement. She narrated her experiences as a parent and as a school governor. She encouraged parents to seek opportunities to become school governors which according to her, is a fantastic way of building strong partnerships with schools which will benefit both the children and the schools. Invaluable experiences gain through this process can help parents to support their children’s learning effectively, she stressed. Emulate and ensure that they follow through and track pupils’ learning progress, she advised. She encouraged parents to contact schools and ask how their children are behaving, whether they are making good progress academically and socially or not. Knowing exactly when problems starts via phone calls to the school can help prevent exclusion. Cllr Williams whilst answering questions from parents stressed: “we should not allow only teachers and schools to train and teach our children how to behave; we should be major part of the process”.
Majority of the parents pledged to get involved in their children’s education but, also viewed that some of the poor behaviour displayed by some students could be as a result of unmet needs by the school particularly if the student is identified with SEND (Special Educational Needs and Disabilities) need. This could trigger poor and disruptive behaviour which might lead to exclusion. They suggested that the government and local authority should intervene where possible. They also suggested that the word “exclusion” carries a negative connotation which tends to negate the concept of inclusivity, a strong and visible policy embedded in all UK educational institutions. A member of the audience suggested that Cllr Williams to address the appropriateness of the term exclusion in her meetings with other colleagues in the Council and schools. The conference was very interactive, full of useful discussions and informative.
Sarita Mamseri from the Museum of London in her presentation explained how the Museum works with supplementary schools in London to support children and young people through out-of-school learning. She explained various opportunities available in the Museum of London and current projects which young people can be part of. She encouraged parents to get involved in family led projects such as sharing cultures project which is delivered in collaboration with supplementary schools. She added sharing cultures project enables our children to learn and understand other cultures and share their cultures with other children as well. She concluded by assuring parents that the Museum of London will work in partnership with BEP Education to support and provide creative learning to children in Barnfield Community. The conference ended with a huge success. A million thanks to all invited guests, councillors, speakers, parents and the local community.