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NTO Council: We weren’t consulted over Key Skills reforms


The publication of a review into the government's A level reforms has provoked a strong response from the National Training Organisation National Council (NTO-NC), who say that the use of work-based learning for Key Skills training has been ignored.

The Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA) was asked to undertake a review of the A level reforms, otherwise known as Curriculum 2000. Last week we reported that Education and Skills Secretary Estelle Morris was to order a cut in the number of exams that pupils take in their first year of sixth form studies, but the QCA review also looked at Key Skills qualifications.

The QCA review found that opinions vary between hostility and a passionate defence of the idea among schools and colleges, but also that Key Skills have been a 'frequent target of criticism'. The QCA says it expects to see registrations for the qualification fall next year, but is recommending that the qualifications are redesigned with less assessment.

The NTO-NC is unhappy that the QCA failed to consult with employers during the review process. Director of policy and development Adrian Anderson said: "The failure to consult with employers, employer representative bodies or work-based learning providers if fundamentally unacceiptable and contradicts the government's commitment to achieving more effective integration between the qualifications system and employer needs.'

Anderson goes on to say that the Council is disappointed that the work-based route for Key Skills does not appear to have been considered, and adds that, in the Council's view, the review 'does not acknowledge the difficulties associated with delivering Key Skills in Modern Apprenticeship'. It adds that it is imperative for employers to get involved so that Key Skill qualifications gain and maintain a good standing.

The Council is calling for a substantial change in the QCA's consultative approach' and wants to see the recommendations revised to consider work-based learning before the publication of the second report in December.


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