Category Archives: News

2013 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 2,100 times in 2013. If it were a cable car, it would take about 35 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Thoughts for 2013..

I haven’t posted for a while as I’ve been busy designing websites (a new venture) and working in a BESD residential school. For those of you unsure as to what that is – it is a school for students with behaviour, emotional and social disorders (my school is for boys only). It’s not an area of education I have extensive experience in but the last 4 months have been some of the most challenging yet rewarding times of my professional life. I have been reminded why I entered the teaching profession all those years ago and look forward to going to work EVERY day!!

As a ‘Teaching and Learning’ consultant from January I will be working with colleagues and students on embedding a culture of learning, supported with e-learning strategies and I can’t wait. The staff have have already been to see me with ideas they would like to develop further in January. Ok, so we have an impending Ofsted visit to contend with but still I can honestly say that I am excited about the challenges this new project will bring and will keep you all posted.

Best wishes for 2013

University graduates embark on earlier chase for jobs

By , education editor at The Guardian

” The graduate class of 2012 has made a record number of applications and begun looking for jobs earlier than ever, a survey of over 17,000 final-year students shows.

Applications for graduate jobs in investment banking have returned to their highest level since the start of the credit crunch in 2008, the High Fliers Research survey finds.

Desire to take time off or go for a gap year is at an all-time low – just 12% plan to do this. The survey, of students at 30 universities, estimates the volume of applications has risen by 40% in two years.

A record 42% of students made applications for a graduate job by the end of October in their final year, while 61% had applied by the end of February, compared with 59% last year.

More than a third of students started researching their career options in the first year of their studies.”

Is this the end of the infamous ‘gap year’? What about the choices students are making in relation to the course studied? It wasn’t so long ago that a gap year was seen as almost a right before settling down and getting a ‘real job’. More often than not nowadays depending on your career choice it would make more sense to focus on getting relevant industry experience or perhaps an apprenticeship to get ahead.

What are your thoughts on the taking a ‘gap year’ – important or not?

Google+ adds an API for apps – but study suggests 40% fall in use

“Programmers will be able to write third-party apps that hook into search engine’s new social service, just as outside study suggests rapid fall in usage over part month

Google+ has launched an API that should allow developers to write third-party apps that will be able to post and read directly to the service – a move that may be sorely needed, after an independent study suggested that the number of posts to the service has fallen by over 40% in the past two months.

However Dave Winer, a strong advocate of systems that interoperate, was dismissive about the API: “Google doesn’t get it“, he wrote:

They need an API with one call, one that posts a tweet to their service. So people can hook up Twitter clients to Google-Plus, so the hundred million active Twitter users can post to Google-Plus from the comfort of whatever tools they depend on.

Of course it isn’t the hundred million that they need, it’s the hundred thousand who do all the work on Twitter. The ones that can’t be bothered with a service that doesn’t have basic rudimentary API support.”

Read the Guardian article in full -> here

Schools prevented from becoming academies by bank fears over PFI deals


“Michael Gove may have to rewrite legislation for his education flagship policy after 16 schools have their plans put on hold

The government’s flagship programme to convert hundreds of schools to academies has been delayed after banks refused to sign private finance contracts.

At least 16 schools that were due to leave local authority control at the start of this term have been put on hold after banks questioned whether councils would still be liable for PFI repayments.

Councils have been forced to step in to run the schools while the problems are resolved. Teachers have been transferred back to local authority payrolls and the disbanded governing bodies reformed.

The delay could hit dozens more schools that were rebuilt under PFI schemes, and the government is calling in lawyers to reassure the banks. Ministers could be forced to rewrite legislation, which was fast-tracked in the weeks after the coalition was formed, to clarify the situation.”

Read the article by Polly Curtis and Jeevan Vasagar -> here




Big increase in apprenticeships due to ‘striking rise’ in trainees over 25

“Research shows apprentices over 25 up from 36,000 to 121,000, but Labour says coalition is failing to focus on key skills

The analysis reveals a 10% increase in teenage apprentices this year, compared with the academic year which started in September 2009. Teenage apprentices rose from 93,700 to 102,900. There was a 21% rise in apprentices aged 19-24, from 85,100 to 102,800. But the number of apprentices aged over 25 nearly quadrupled, from 36,300 to 121,100. Youth unemployment hit record levels earlier this year, and latest figures show around 917,000 people aged 16-24 are out of work. The research, commissioned by Labour, shows that the biggest increases in apprenticeships are in health and social care and retail.

Gordon Marsden, shadow further education and skills minister, said: “For all the government’s warm words on apprenticeships, these statistics show they haven’t got to grips with the task of supporting business and creating an environment in which quality, long-term apprenticeships can flourish and support economic growth.”

The latest statistics, from the National Apprenticeship Service, show almost 90,000 employers offer apprenticeships to 491,300 workers in England. Companies hiring the most include BT, Capita Group, Tesco and McDonald’s.”

Read the article in full by Jeevan Vasagar & Jessica Shepherd by clicking here

Our View: While it is always good to see opportunities increased for people to gain qualifications whilst they are earning,  it is disappointing to see that apprenticeships lasting more than a year are decreasing. We wonder about the quality (and level) of any qualifications which last less than a year and the potential impact they will have on the apprentices’ future. Are businesses being provided with the appropriate support and guidance to ensure that apprentices actually have the real chance to future their chosen career and not just be used as ‘cheap labour’? What’s your view / experience of apprenticeships? Good, bad or indifferent – we’re interested in what you have to say…..