Trade mission to Japan brings new business, high hopes to English firms

Trade mission brings new business, high hopes to English firms

  • High-end fashion a strong area of opportunity
  • Myth of tough Japan market being dispelled
  • Face-to-face meetings key to new partnerships
UKTI Japan Director Sue Kinoshita welcomed delegates.

UKTI Japan Director Sue Kinoshita welcomed delegates.

Before Damon Hill arrived in Tokyo in February, he admits his expectations for his initial foray into the Japanese market for the Barney & Taylor clothing brand were “quite low”.

Four days after touching down, he was taking a breather from a whirlwind of meetings with distributors and retailers, all apparently eager to stock the Manchester-based firm’s high-end leather clothing and accessories.

“I was always under the impression that it would take years to get business relationships in this market to bloom”, Hill told BCCJ ACUMEN. “I was worried that we are not known in Japan, that it would take time to build the trust required and so on.

“But I’ve found there is a strong appetite for what we do”, he said. “People here are very well turned out; they have an impeccable sense of style—and that fits in neatly with what we want to do.

“The companies we have been talking to here are very keen and, from my point of view, the mission could not have gone better”.

Within a matter of weeks, the visit to Japan paid off spectacularly.

“We have just signed a partnership with a Japanese company called Junichi, who we met on the mission, to be our representative in Japan”, Hill said.

“Junichi bring with them a great understanding of the Japanese marketplace and consumers, and they will act as a bridge between us and a distributor”, he said. “Basically, Junichi have become an extended arm of our own company in Japan”.

Barney & Taylor are still looking for the ideal distributor in Japan, but Hill believes the arrangement with Junichi K.K. will allow the company to identify and attain the “right level of distribution, which can be so difficult from afar”.

“Local intelligence is a powerful thing, so we are hoping that this partnership helps to secure a foothold and plant our foundations in Japan”, he said.

Barney & Taylor was one of 10 firms taking part in the seven-day UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) mission, organised by the trade teams representing north-western and eastern England.

David Moir, mission manager for east England delegates, was keen to dispel a few myths about doing business in Japan.

“There is still a strong sense that this is a tough market and that Japan works hard to keep companies out”, Moir said.

“We need to overcome the perception that it’s difficult to get into Japan, and to show firms just how rewarding the market can be once it has been cracked”, he said. “That is especially true in certain areas, such as high-end fashion, where British firms have a very good reputation”.

Of the businesses taking part, only two had previously sent representatives to Japan.

“The businesses that have come are at different stages in their development, in particular in their relationships with companies here in Japan”, said Peter Thompson, UKTI international trade adviser for the north-west of Britain.

“Some are just starting out and have come for more of a look-and-see; others are developing existing contacts; while some are trying to develop the business they already have”, Thompson said.

Working with the UKTI Japan team at the British Embassy Tokyo, trade officials were able to set up meetings with potential partners, distributors and even clients. Hertfordshire-based Flat Technologies Ltd., one of the participating firms, also used the opportunity to take part in a trade show.

“This is a very sophisticated market, but it is quality through and through”, Thompson said. “Our companies find that, once they have gone through the courting process, the marriage will be long-lasting”.

Another member of the mission delighted to discover that his worries about operating in Japan were unfounded was Andrew Lau, business unit director for Scientia Ltd.

“We have been able to talk with many universities and partners that work with universities, and the feedback has been very good”, Lau said. His Cambridge-based firm is the market leader in resource scheduling, space management and timetabling solutions for the government, higher education and the private sector worldwide.

Scientia’s Syllabus Plus suite of software tools, along with its smart timetabling and scheduling software, has already been translated into 17 languages and is sold in 32 countries. Lau holds high hopes for the Japanese market.

“It is early days still, but I do believe that coming here and meeting people face to face will lead to new opportunities for us”, he said.

During his time in Japan, Lau also flew to Naha for a meeting with key representatives of Okinawa University.

“This is the sort of thing that simply cannot be done over the phone”, he said. “It’s all about making the effort to explain the advantages of our solutions in person, and I’m confident that what we are able to provide will help to overcome some of the problems that institutions here are facing”.

Progress in forging new contacts had been so swift that Lau returned to Japan in March for a further series of discussions with interested potential customers, which has led to progress.

“At this stage, we have received very positive feedback from universities and possible partners in Japan”, he said. “Specifically, both universities and partners indicated there were no similar solutions in Japan at the moment. Hence, the potential for Scientia UK to succeed in Japan is high.

“We are currently in some late-stage discussions with a well known solutions provider for the higher education sector in Japan and hope to finalise a partnership deal very soon”, he added.

Dr Hamid Hashemi, director of education experts Mayfair Consultants, also had reason for optimism as a result of his first trip to Japan; he had secured his first contract within 36 hours of arriving.

“I see huge potential here”, Hashemi said. “I would say that education is one of the UK’s greatest assets and a source of pride for me personally, but there are very few British companies in the education sector here—which makes it even more attractive”.

 

Published in The magazine of the British Chamber of Commerce in Japan

https://bccjacumen.com/its-a-deal/

 

 

 

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LNAT Law National Aptitude Test Reading List

An introductory LNAT reading list to cover over the summer in advance of the test for all those considering studying LAW in the UK. If we can help in any other way please get in touch frontdesk@mayfairconsultants.co.uk #LNAT #UCAS #Law #University

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LNAT Law National Aptitude Test for UK University Reading List


Thinking Skills: CriticalThinking and Problem Solving – Cambridge International Examinations. Butterworth, John.  Critical Thinking & Reasoning
The Art of Always Being Right: 38 Ways to Win an Argument. Arthur Schopenhauer
.  Critical Thinking & Reasoning
Practise & Pass: LNAT (Practise & Pass Professional). Petrova, Georgina
.  LNAT Test
Mastering the National Admissions Test for Law. Shepherd, Mark
.  LNAT Test
How to Improve Your Critical Thinking & Reflective Skills (Smarter Study Skills) Kathleen
 McMillan.  Critical Thinking & Reasoning
Critical Thinking: An Introduction. Alec Fisher.  Critical Thinking & Reasoning
The Official LSAT SuperPrep. Law School Admission Council. American LSAT Test – Similar Questions for practice
Writing for Social Scientists: How to Start and Finish Your Thesis, Book, or Article (Chicago Guides to Writing, Editing and Publishing).Howard Becker.  Critical Thinking & Reasoning
Thinking from A to ZNigel Warburton.  Critical Thinking & Reasoning
Passing the National Admissions Test for Law (LNAT) (Student Guides to University Entrance Series)Rosalie Hutton.  LNAT Test

Critical Reasoning: A Practical Introduction. Anne Thomson
.  Critical Thinking & Reasoning
Critical Thinking for Students: Learn the Skills of Analysing, Evaluating and Producing Arguments. Roy van den Brink-Budgen. Critical Thinking & Reasoning
Being Logical: A Guide to Good Thinking. D. Q. McInerny. Critical Thinking & Reasoning
LSAT Logical Reasoning Bible: A Comprehensive System for Attacking the Logical Reasoning Section of the LSAT. David M. Killoran. American LSAT Test – Similar Questions for practice
Think You Can Think?: Cracking the Thinking Skills Assessment.Minesh Tanna. Oxford Thinking Skills Assessment Test – Similar Questions to practice
Critical Thinking Skills: Developing Effective Analysis and Argument (Palgrave Study Skills)Stella Cottrell. Critical Thinking & Reasoning
The Law Student’s HandbookSecond Edition.Steve Wilson and Phillip Kenny. Studying Law in UK
Human Rights Law Concentrate: Law Revision and Study Guide.Bernadette Rainey.  Human Rights Law in Summary
Glanville Williams, Learning The Law. A T H Smith. Studying Law in UK
The Rule of Law.Tom Bingham. Studying Law in UK
A Dictionary of Law (Oxford Paperback Reference). Elizabeth Martin. Studying Law in UK
What About Law?: Studying Law at University. Catherine Barnard. Studying Law in UK
Letters to a Law Student: A Guide to Studying Law at University.Nicholas J McBride. Studying Law in UK
Great Personal Statements for Law School.Paul Bodine.  Personal Statements Law focus, USA based but good examples
Personal Statements: How to Write a UCAS Personal Statement.Paul Telfer.  UCAS Personal Statements to ponder the process

Careers Advice & Guidance

Possibly the most important element of planning for ones academic and work life, here are a list of websites below you may find useful from the Department for Educations paper on securing independent careers guidance.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/careers-guidance-for-colleges–2

 Association for Careers Education and Guidance -http://www.aceg.org.uk/

 ACEG Framework for Careers and Work-Related Education

http://www.aceg.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/The-ACEG-Framework.pdf

 Bestcourse4me – http://www.bestcourse4me.com Provides information for

pupils on wage returns to particular degrees and universities.

 Careers Profession Alliance – https://www.cparegister.org/

 Education and Employers Task Force

Home

 Growing Ambitions – http://growingambitions.tes.co.uk/

 Horsesmouth – http://www.horsesmouth.co.uk/ Social network for informal

mentoring.

 Icould – http://icould.com/ Careers information website.

 Inspiring the Future – http://www.inspiringthefuture.org/ and

http://www.educationandemployers.org/media/16409/itf_guide.pdf.

Bringing inspiring speakers into schools.

 Institute for Education Business Excellence – http://www.iebe.org.uk/  Institute of Career Guidance -http://www.icg-uk.org/

 Local Government Association Knowledge Hub –

https://knowledgehub.local.gov.uk/signin?p_p_id=58&p_p_lifecycle=0&_58 _redirect=%2Fgroup%2Fkhub. A set of case studies highlighting good practice in the area of careers information, advice and guidance is available on this site and more will be added as new examples are identified.

 Learning and Skills Improvement Service – http://www.lsis.org.uk/

 Matrix – http://www.matrixstandard.com

 National Apprenticeship Service – http://www.apprenticeships.org.uk/  National Careers Service – 0800 100 900 or

https://nationalcareersservice.direct.gov.uk

 National Citizen Service – https://nationalcitizenservice.direct.gov.uk/

 Plotr – http://www.plotr.co.uk/. Inspiring young people about careers – will

go live later in 2012.

 Quality in Careers Standard –

http://www.careersengland.org.uk/quality.php?page=introduction

 Science and Engineering Ambassadors

www.stemnet.org.uk/content/stem-ambassadors

 Supporting career teachers and advisers – http://www.cegnet.co.uk

 The Big Bang Fair -http://www.thebigbangfair.co.uk

 Tomorrow’s Engineers -http://www.tomorrowsengineers.org.uk

 5th Matrix -http://www.youngchamber.com/5th-matrix

  • 157 Group – Is a membership organisation that represents 27 large and regionally influential Further Education colleges in England.
  • The Association of Colleges (AoC) exists to represent and promote the interests of Colleges.
  • Association of School and College Leaders and Association of Colleges existing guidance: putting young people first
  • Bestcourse4me Provides information for pupils on wage returns to particular degrees and universities.
  • Career Academies UK Career Academies UK helps raise young people’s aspirations and bridge the gap between education and work by giving them access to real experience of the world of work.
  • Career Development Institute is the new single UK-wide professional organisation for all working in all fields of career education; career information, advice and guidance; career coaching and career consultancy.
  • Careers Profession Alliance Is the professional body that serves career development practitioners and membership is open to all.
  • Education and Employers Task Force supports effective partnerships between schools, colleges and employers to inspire young people
  • icould – Careers information website
  • Inspiring the Future is a free service across England with volunteers from all sectorsand professions going into state secondary schools and colleges to talk about theirjobs and sectors.
  • Job Zoo – CV and careers resources
  • matrix is the unique quality standard for organisations to assess and measure theiradvice and support services, which ultimately supports individuals in their choice ofcareer.
  • National Apprenticeship Service (NAS) supports, funds and co-ordinates the deliveryof Apprenticeships throughout England.
  • National Careers Service – 0800 100 900 or at the website
  • plotr is a new online service which allows young people to explore careers and bringstogether opportunities in one place.
  • Prospects – A graduate careers website supporting students to find graduate jobs,postgraduate courses, work experience and careers advice
  • Quality in Careers Standard provides key information about the Quality in CareersStandard (QiCS).
  • The Big Bang Fair – is the largest celebration of science, technology, engineering andmaths for young people in the UK.
  • The Skills Show is responsible for the UK’s largest skills and careers event at theNEC Birmingham
  • Unistats is the official website for comparing UK higher education course data

 

Further sources of information Key Government Documents

  • Careers inspiration vision statement The government’s statement on careers inspiration policy
  • Careers guidance action plan Provides the government’s response to recommendations from Ofsted’s thematic review and National Careers Council’s report.Other Departmental advice and guidance
  • Statutory guidance for schools on careers inspiration
  • Departmental advice for schools on careers inspiration
  • Statutory guidance on duties relating to the participation of young people in education, employment or training
  • Non-statutory advice to help schools, colleges and other training providers deliver work experience as a part of 16-to-19 study programmes and traineeships for 16- to 23-year-oldsRepresentative Bodies
  • 157 Group A membership organisation that represents 27 large and regionally influential further education colleges in England.
  • Association of Colleges (AoC) Exists to represent and promote the interests of colleges.
  • Sixth Form Colleges’ Association (SFCA) Represents the interests of the sixth form colleges sector.Organisations and intermediaries helping to bring employers into the classroom
  • Business in the Community Provides a framework for developing long term relationships between schools and businesses through its Business Class programme.
  • Career Academies UK Helps raise young people’s aspirations and bridge the gap between education and work by giving them access to real experience of the world of work.
  • Education and Employers Task Force Supports effective partnerships between schools, colleges and employers to inspire young people
  • Future First Helps schools and colleges harness the experiences and skills of their former students through alumni communities.
  • Ideas Foundation Has two key projects: ‘I Am Creative’ aims to teach 13-19 year olds about the creative industries and gives them an opportunity to have a go at answering a live creative brief from a global company; ‘Incubate’ brings specialist industries employers into the classroom to work intensively with young people on projects from across the Digital and Media communications sector.
  • Inspiring the Future A free service across England with volunteers from all sectors and professions going into state secondary schools and colleges to talk about their jobs and sectors.
  • Young Enterprise A business and enterprise education charity, helping young people to learn about business and the world of work in the classroom, under the guidance of a network of volunteers from a range of companies.Careers guidance and inspiration resources
  • 5th Matrix A careers and networking platform which encourages young people to investigate and share careers ideas.
  • Growing Ambitions A bank of multimedia resources that can be downloaded and used in lessons to help students make informed choices about their future.
  • Icould – Careers information website
  • Job Zoo Provides CV and careers resources
  • Matrix – All providers of the National Careers Service are accredited to the matrix Standard. An online register of organisations accredited to the matrix Standard is available on the website.
  • National Careers Service Provides information, advice and guidance to help young people and adults make decisions on learning, training and work opportunities. The service offers confidential and impartial advice, supported by qualified careers advisers. Support available to young people via a website, helpline and webchat on 0800 100 900.
  • Plotr An online service which allows young people to explore careers and brings together opportunities in one place.
  • Skills to Succeed Academy A free, highly interactive, on-line training programme designed specifically to help young people choose the right career for them, and build the key employability skills they need to find and keep a job.
  • The Skills Show Responsible for the UK’s largest skills and careers event at the NEC Birmingham.
  • Prospects A graduate careers website supporting students to find graduate jobs, postgraduate courses, work experience and careers advice.Apprenticeship resources
  • National Apprenticeship Service Supports, funds and co-ordinates the delivery of Apprenticeships throughout England.
  • Your Guide to Apprenticeships Provides essential information and sources of further advice and support on apprenticeships.Helping young people to build life skills
  • National Citizen Service Provides an opportunity open to all 16 & 17 year olds in England and Northern Ireland, to help build skills for work and life.
  • Prince’s Trust Changes young lives by helping to develop key skills, confidence and motivation, enabling young people to move into work, education or training.Higher education resources
  • Bestcourse4me Provides information for pupils on wage returns to particular degrees and universities.
  • IntoUniversity Operates local learning centres offering an innovative programme that supports young people from disadvantaged backgrounds to attain either a university place or another chosen aspiration.
  • UCAS – The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service manages applications from over 670,000 students each year for full-time UK undergraduate courses as well as running specialist application services for postgraduate courses, conservatoires and teacher training. To connect students to higher education, UCAS provides impartial advice on post-16 options, enabling students to make informed choices on higher education and alternative options.
  • Unistats The official website for comparing UK higher education course data.
  • Which? University Supports choice in HE.Mentoring resources

• Brightside A charity that helps young people access the education and career pathways they might not have believed were available to them.

• Horsesmouth A social network for informal mentoring.
STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths)

Resources

  • STEM Ambassadors – Managed by STEMNET, works with schools, colleges and STEM employers UK-wide to enable young people of all backgrounds and abilities to meet inspiring role models, understand real world applications of STEM subjects and experience hands-on STEM activities that motivate, inspire and bring learning and career opportunities to life.
  • The Big Bang Fair – The largest celebration of science, technology, engineering and maths for young people in the UK.
  • Tomorrow’s Engineers Provides information and resources about careers available in engineering and run a schools programme to help inspire the next generation of engineers.Work experience resourcesUK Commission for Employment and Skills: ‘Not just making tea: reinventing work experience’ – A guide that explains just how important it is for businesses to inspire young people, busts some myths that have been putting employers off and gives advice on how to go about offering work experience.

 

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The delivery of Careers Education, Information and Guidance amongst private tuition providers.

The delivery of Careers Education, Information and Guidance amongst private tuition providers.

Careers advice teacher connexions careers tutor

Private tuition in England delivered by private sector organisations and tutorial agencies encompasses a large grey area of teaching currently undertaken by school children. The majority of students receive some form of tuition during their academic lives outside of school hours, with over 504 and rapidly rising providers currently operating in the UK[1]. The previous government had addressed the need for private tuition to reach over 300,000 children in aided schools, who were falling behind in English and Maths.

As statutory duties weigh on aided schools[2] and education providers conducting good practice to provide impartial careers education and guidance, its delivery through the private tuition sector has yet to be addressed. This poses a good opportunity to raise the profile of and expose pupils to this critical discipline that is instrumental in moulding careers and shaping working lives. Most tuition agencies will not have any provision for Careers Education and Guidance (CEG) and if the industry is to play its part and act as a safety net to ensure such impartial advice ultimately reaches individuals, then perhaps CEG can be embedded within a students study plan, routine and during tutorial sessions across all subjects during tuition.

In this report, I have aimed to investigate the management of individual careers guidance through its links with tutoring and mentoring. The delivery of such guidance through the private tuition sector may serve as a large and fairly significant channel to reach school pupils in the UK, whose parents often enlist the help of tutors as the need arises. This report has set about initially introducing the academic background to Careers Education and Guidance, the important theories and policy recommendations. It then looks at how these studies and information could be delivered in a very different environment to schools, that being the 1-1 tuition setting where more often than not those employing the services of such agencies have contact only with their subject tutors, albeit on a regular basis. In some ways this serves to be an ideal vehicle of careers delivery if tutors are given the right guidance and resources. The current literature on careers education should remain at the forefront of any programme formulated to deliver such guidance. This report recommends creating a single volume textbook diary focussing on careers that could effectively deliver a mass of careers education, information and present worksheets and tutor scripts to engage pupils. This would expose students to the careers world and ultimately empower them to guide and direct their own development. It would also help tutors with preset lesson plans and content.

Under section 45A of the Education Act 1997, a statutory duty was imposed upon schools to provide CEG, encompassing two areas as defined by the statutory guidance[3]:

 

Careers Education

“Helps young people to develop the knowledge, confidence and skills that they need to make well-informed thought-through choices and plans that enable them to progress smoothly into further learning and work, now and in the future.”

 

Information Advice and Guidance

“Personalised support on learning and work pathways and on other key issues that impact on young peoples ability to develop and progress.”

The statutory guidance addressed the issues of allocation of insufficient curriculum time to careers education, and inadequate CPD support for careers co-ordinators. The Education and Skills Act 2008 reinforced the need for impartiality of that guidance and set out six principles of impartial careers advice, listed below:

 

  1. Empowering young people to plan and manage their own futures.
  2. Responding to the needs of each learner.
  3. Comprehensive Information and Advice.
  4. Raises aspirations.
  5. Helps young people progress.
  6. Promotes equality of opportunity and challenges stereotypes.

Simple models of a core curriculum conceived in the early 1980’s have focussed the delivery of careers education and guidance around three main target areas[4]. These were firstly ‘life skills’ that encompassed learning and information skills; coping, social and helping skills; problem solving, decision and communication skills. Secondly ‘awareness of the self’ in relation to available opportunities. This involved assessing strengths and weakness, vales, interests and qualifications. Thirdly, ‘cultural transmission’ which involved building a base to make sense of the world and interact with it through literacy, numeracy, history, geography, science, technology, social economic and political sciences, religious and moral values, languages, health crafts and community studies. Furthermore as the mass of information available to us increases its efficient retrieval process and assimilation becomes even more important during the transition from school to adult life.

When formulating career development plans studies originating from Super and Ginzberg’s reformulated theory suggests occupational choice as a life long process that strikes a balance between career preparations and their realities. This developed as twelve propositions taking into account the series of life stages of career development (5 vocational life stages). It implements a self concept and one of compromise[5].

The influences on students developed further by Super stem from life stages, and life events; family, peers, social norms and labour market experiences should be built on and explored.[6] Egan proposed any enquiry into such areas should involve a 3-stage model involving firstly, explanation to address the current circumstances and allow expression of needs. Secondly, exploration to increase self-awareness and understand influences affecting choices, actions and to explore options. Thirdly to formulate a plan for future action based on a realistic assessment of the pros and cons of available options[7].

Career counselling has been much studied and its principles should be incorporated into the careers guidance framework involving building on 3 main processes of exploring, understanding and outcomes. These have been described as enabling the student to make, whilst in the exploratory phase, an initially guided assessment, concerns and influences with development and choices and expectations. The understanding phase can involve psychometric testing, self-assessment exercises and researching opportunities including overcoming fears/prejudices. The outcome phase will then involve action planning and decision-making exercises along with self-evaluation and review[8].

Early works on the theories of career decision-making have proposed numerous models. Amongst the most influential has been the Person-Environment Fit model matching individuals with jobs. Initially a list of questions was formulated by Rogers through the Seven-Point Plan that encompassed physical make up, attainments, IQ, aptitudes, Interests, disposition and circumstances. This was in turn elaborated by Holland that the better fit with occupation proposing that individuals and occupational environments can be grouped into 6 interest types through a hexagonal model: namely realistic, investigative, artistic, social, enterprising and conventional whereby occupation choice encompasses interests and environments to achieve job satisfaction and stability.

These models have further been refined through Warrs’ present status models where “desirable characteristics of work environments include environmental clarity and feedback, variety, level of pay, physical security, externally generated goals, interpersonal contact, opportunity for skill use, opportunity for control and valued social position.” Therefore for students to make an informed judgement on careers they must know as fully about jobs and their prospects in order to achieve a higher rate of job satisfaction guided by an exploration of interests and personality. Kidd describes these and other career counselling theories including their evolution in more detail[9]. Following on from Supers work, the insight into Developmental and structural theories have ensued with the FIRST framework where the career counselling is geared towards the person’s development stage, and development of careers over lifespan. The FIRST framework encompasses 5 themes as described by Bedford, being Focus, Information, Realism, Scope and Tactics. Law’s community theory looks at social influences in decision making as described previously through expectations, feedback, support, modelling and information. Social career theory further developed by Lent underpins and defines a key role of ‘self-efficacy’ in formulating career goals, through social learning and these techniques should be employed for effective counselling within a tutorial setting.

A Holistic prospective to life career development has also been described, where Gysbers defines this through ones ‘Life Span” as

‘Self development over the life span through the interaction and integration of the roles, settings and events of a persons life.’

This has been quite a popular approach that amalgamates career development and life experiences together, and further expanding on other factors such as gender, religion, and life roles. Further influences derive from socioeconomic factors that when fully understood by a student can be an important factor in determining an individual’s ‘socialization’. This can be achieved through creating career consciousness, allowing the visualisation and planning of life careers to evaluate the concept of the self and what one wants him or her self to become when weighing up all these factors. An important aspect highlighted is the ability to deal with problems both at work and at home[10].

 

Any careers guidance must encourage a responsiveness to a dynamic labour market, as not all professions have enough jobs to go around and therefore it is vital that students are informed of expectations and realistic aims. On the same token it is vital to raise expectations, unlock talent and promote and increase social mobility. Furthermore with the inclusion of family input and mentoring opportunities both from higher education tutors, business professional and other sectors, this serves to enrich the learning environment. Furthermore information should be made available to children regarding these opportunities along with guides UCAS, the new common application system and 14-19 prospectus along the foundations of twelve quality standards and pledges for young peoples information, advice and guidance delivery[11] and in complement to the 5 ‘every child matters’ outcomes.

 

The Every Child Matters pledge placed an emphasis on empowering young people other than via teachers and coordinators. However how else can this be achieved on a grass roots basis through the tuition sector? In fact 71% of young people said they would do up to four hours of activities in their spare time if they had something to do. However any direction needs to have a defined purpose. There are lots of opportunities however it’s often difficult to have knowledge of such programmes. More interaction with local authorities in the wake of Connexions may help to bring this information to the fore[12]. The Nuffield Review in their paper on guidance and careers education placed an emphasis on the importance of key points of transition, equipping young people with knowledge and skills for effective use of information and available guidance. The report also found that there were no teacher training schemes for careers education[13].

 

The office for standards in education produced a report in 2001 on the effectiveness of the provision of careers guidance in schools, in fulfilment of their statutory duties highlighted five components of good practice in careers education namely its incorporation within the curriculum, planning and recording achievement through work related activities, 1-1 guidance and support and access to current careers information[14]. A later report conducted by Ofsted in 2010 found that CEG is much improving thanks to national standards set to raise the profile and its quality and consistency, with more work needing to be done to expand work experience placements and an emphasis on the need for effective ILPs and their implementation, especially at transition points[15].

 

The current Department for Educations careers profession task force highlighted the need for the profession to meet quality standards. The study reviewed the shortages of skilled labour in the UK and need for a dynamic workforce, including a push toward areas such as the LMI, ICT and STEM subjects uptake. Transferable skills and career transitions are now even more important in creating work plasticity to meet the countries economic needs. Careers services are consistently lacking excellent practices and are only as good as their providers and tutors, with inconsistent levels of professionalism in order to maintain standards. The need to develop a careers profession as per a set standard, with better linkages and education-business partnerships and multi agency linkages through local authorities was recommended[16]. A recent study on careers coordinators in schools called for a new qualification for careers coordinators delivered perhaps by e-learning, yet called for the need for a wide variety of options for careers professionals to learn and progress along their careers themselves[17].

 

Another important aspect of delivering careers education within the tutorial setting will in inevitably involve the appointing of non teachers for careers coordinators roles, which itself poses benefits and challenges. Interviews with careers coordinators have revealed that more often non-teacher can devote more time to this role without detracting from teaching duties. Furthermore the inevitable growth of the profession and a wider choice of CPD options for careers providers will come some way to helping equip tutors with the skills they need to deliver their programmes[18]. The challenges that non teachers may face, are that they may not be able to effectively plan a scheme of work, and they may face challenges teaching lessons in careers education. Monitoring teaching and learning may initially prove challenging without set templates to work from. There may also be hidden benefits with the impartiality and work skills sets that non-teachers bring[19]. There is no doubt that the progression of the careers profession and availability of Quality Awards and standards to support CEG development will serve as ongoing work based training, currently there are 25 such available awards nationally. This number needs to grow[20].

 

In a rapidly evolving work environment there seem to be fewer ‘jobs for life’ where individuals are taking responsibility for managing their own careers. To therefore efficiently implement management at a distance in a sustainable way remains a challenge as the importance of careers education management structures in schools is highlighted. Effective achievement strategies will focus on identifying occupational and educational goals, recording and reviewing experiences and developing a curriculum that addresses life skills, IT and communication skills[21]. The importance of transition skills has also been highlighted through the ability to remove obstacles and interventions that are tailored to individual needs, and the development of career skills. The impact of external and internal factors such as parents can help to further enhance career development and motivation[22].

 

Four main areas are highlighted as important for recording experiences and action planning, usually involving a tutor. These involved the employment of scientific methods such as psychometric testing and interviews. Expanded methods such as careers portfolios and recording experience. Structural methods such as action planning and profiling along with critical review of achievements and finally critical methods such as individual learning plans and formerly records of achievement can all contribute to the evaluation process. These methods of enquiry further lead to an awareness of issues such as control, acceptability and purposes that follow the stages in sequence of inputs, processes and outputs[23]. It is therefore important that any delivery of such programmes of career development touches on these aspects and utilises the breadth of approaches for recording experiences and action planning. Moreover psychometric testing has greatly enhanced and improved over the past 30 years. Such tests whether geared towards personality testing investigating deeper aspects of the self, or a test of a measure of attainment or intelligence can serve to yield interesting data that should not be disregarded. This can in fact be fun for pupils that revel usually in comparison and competition. Each method of enquiry should be expanded on particularly action plans and individual learning plans especially that it is highly likely the official methods for recording such as records of achievements are evolving with a perhaps uncertain direction.

 

Recently many schools have invested in 1-1 support emphasizing the significance of tutoring and mentoring for the delivery of careers education and guidance, where tutors often manage the learning of pupils across all disciplines often in partnership with external organisations[24]. Tutoring and mentoring are becoming an integral part of schools IAG programmes, delivered in an impartial manner. Furthermore tutors can help developing life skills through work related learning, PHSE and citizenship. Local authorities will increasingly be more responsible for the allocation of advisors and guidance systems as this role is devolved from the Connexions machinery. It is increasingly more important to engage private sector organisations with a track record of effective tutoring to contribute to the careers profession.

 

Connexions was created to provide a full service of support to 13-19 year olds established in 2000, and went some way to creating many thousands of careers professional in a fairly new area of education, with the spirit behind it being to improve social mobility and as a defence against social exclusion by improving job prospects. It seems perhaps somewhat confusing what will develop in its place and whether it was value for money, it certainly put careers services on the high street and reached many hundreds of thousands of children[25].

 

Much focus has been on individually tailored learning programmes with recommended learning outcomes through the two components of Careers Education, developing the knowledge and Careers Guidance, and applying those learnt skills. CEG must therefore address learning outcomes, and establish effective recording mechanisms involving students through a framework of guidance that meets pupil’s needs and aspirations to include PHSE[26], citizenship[27] and financial awareness[28]. PHSE, economic well-being and financial capability aims to create successful learners, who enjoy learning, make progress and achieve. Furthermore it helps make confident individuals able to live safe, healthy and fulfilling lives. PHSE aims to promote responsible citizenship making a positive contribution to society. These are outcomes upon which the curriculum is based upon[29].

 

Career learning and development in the curriculum has developed greatly and its currently taking form as more research and practitioners develop. Two main themes recently employed are a para-curruculum and a formal curriculum. The paracurriculm covers hidden areas where environmental vehicles for career development may ensue building on values such as aspiration, enterprise, self-efficacy, resilience, ambition, fairness, diversity, sustainable living, happiness, contribution and service to others. With extracurricular activities also helping to formulate this along with positions of responsibility either in school or voluntarily in the community. A more formal curriculum takes the shape of academic and applied components to take note of how the working world operates and insights into this. This curriculum would encompass aspects such as PSHE and others mentioned previously.

 

The National Support Programme formulated a scheme of work for careers, which summarises the core units of a curriculum as a 17-point plan of enquiry with guiding questions. Furthermore the potential for career-related learning in subjects was also explored and employed where young people can find out more about job prospects and what the field entails. The more information about careers in certain disciplines may prove enough of a trigger to lead to further enquiry. Ultimately, career related learning-links to subjects can lead to both a deeper interest in that academic subject but also can lead to a richer learning experience[30]. More specifically the subject areas noted were Art & Design; Citizenship; Design & Technology; English; Geography; History; Information & Communication Technology; Mathematics; Modern Foreign languages; Music; Physical Education; Religious Education and the Sciences. The QCA further set out a curriculum innovation in 2008 when planning career learning and development curriculum, through a 6 point plan, guiding the identification of priorities, designing plans review and implementation.

 

The importance of promoting linguistics can prove an asset for students, where a recent study has concluded that despite over 300 languages spoken in London, English is only spoken by less than 25% of the world population, to that end for the UK to communicate more effectively with the rest of the world, linguistics should come some way to improving ones own quality of life and to serving the community[31].  This is also important in widening job possibilities worldwide and prospects.

 

Leadership, management and coordination skills are also an emerging area of careers education and guidance as well as promoting entrepreneurship, and work related learning[32]. With respect to vocational and work related learning that aims to developing career awareness and key skills including broader aptitudes, opportunities should be made available for pupils. Furthermore this helps to improve an understanding of economy, enterprise, personal finance and business structures. It can also foster positive attitudes[33].

 

When considering the importance of work experience, defined as schemes where only part of the full experience of work is available within the work environment, where the role of the student is a learner rather than an employee, wihas ten aims defined by Watts. These are that experience should be enhancing, motivational, maturational, investigative, expansive, sampling, prepatory, anticipatory, placing and custodial.[34] The onus is then to apply this theory into practice within the context of the tutorial setting. The importance of establishing a network of business contacts through education-business partnerships has grown rapidly over the past 30 years and this is an area that should continue to flourish, as the skills it equips students are invaluable. The benefits of work related activities building on Watts aims against the potential costs of organising the out of school activities should allow an exploration of what local business and public organisations can offer and any such activities must be justified with respect to their contribution to students learning and an imposition upon the student to critically reflect upon it[35]. Volunteering, with our new social order and initiatives, can be a very good way of achieving such aims and acquiring work related skills.

 

An online survey of 500 young people aged 12-26 showed that their parents, websites, teachers and friends influence most students. 80% of respondents claimed that formal careers advice was little helpful yet that may sow the seed for further enquiry and engagement that may be unrealised, with a growing call for web based self accessed tools for careers[36]. In order to exploit this demographic of technologically advancing children, the field must also evolve in tandem and provision more web based formulas for careers guidance delivery[37]. Further studies surveying 900 14-15 year old placed a large focus on needing more work related learning, information and its provision with many anxious about the rise of university costs[38].

 

The provision of CEG is vital to motivating pupils and delivering key skills, yet facilities and programmes are not on a par across schools and less so within the private education sector especially with respect to their perceived importance and allocation of technology and resources[39]. The importance of accessibility, media resources and good practice are important as technology advances and information is delivered though a variety of digital media, where printed materials are increasingly rarely used by students[40].

 

The ability for students to make informed decisions about their careers must be fostered as the availability of quality information without the means to forge it may render it ineffective.

 

‘It would of course be naively simplistic to suggest that there is some kind of optimal ratio between the investment to be made in facilitating opportunity awareness and self awareness. Such decisions must be left to individual schools to make in light of their own circumstances… in general schools appear to attach relatively low priority to activities which might help students with the development of decision-making skills[41].’

 

The importance therefore of information and communication technology in the careers education is fundamental if the professions effectiveness is to flourish. In practice technology should assist practice and promote positive outcomes where ICT can in fact help raise standards and aspirations in Maths and English[42]. There remains great potential for ICT in CEG with the availability of good software continually being a limiting factor and perhaps a personalised ‘e-guidance’ service may come some way to addressing this.

 

A number of challenging issues for careers teaching have arisen recently. The provision of tailored programmes for gifted and talented students, those with special needs or those with complex issues are crucial however not in the scope of this paper that perhaps may need to employ an initial one size fits all approach. Nevertheless it is important for any materials made to be able to highlight such individuals through the initial series of diagnostic test or otherwise. The role of careers education has also come to light when imposing the virtues of equality, fairness and policies of social inclusion as defined by the Equality Act 2006 with defined aims to enforce equality irrespective of age, disability, gender, race, religious belief or sexual orientation. Any programmes of study must foster and promote these principles to create a more content and tolerant individuals. The promotion of equality through fair and open access to opportunities must be reinforced in spirit in any careers programme steered by the governments Social Mobility Commission.

 

Based on the above studies and in conclusion, the dairy would serve to address the issues raised with delivering CEG within the tutorial setting. It would form a firm foundation for delivering careers education to pupils in an easy and accessible volume with the added practical benefit to doubling up as a diary and activity book that pupils would use on a daily basis. This would further stimulate pupils with careers on an ongoing basis, conditioning some of the reflective and research processes required for the careers guidance process. The tutors would also follow set lesson plans pre-printed in the diaries to ensure content is covered and to avoid confusion as to lesson planning that has been an issue in the past. It seems an effective method of communicating careers at a distance from institutional or higher management control and more toward self-reliance and guidance.

 

 

Frost et al, have described the effectiveness of the tutorial setting in delivering careers education. The role of tutorial methods in supporting good practice by Edwards provided a good insight into how such sessions should advance with respect to careers in formation advice and guidance. If tutors ultimately employ their skills effectively then tutorials can serve to be paramount for students voicing their needs and directing learning plans. The tutorial process should enable students to be in more control of their guidance needs, involved in assessing what is appropriate, learning educational skills through guidance and receiving feedback and support. In turn effective tutors must be effective at formulating skills sets such as enabling, advising, informing, counselling, reviewing and feeding back thereby creating an opportunity for pupils to understand the process of their individual guidance. Also tutors are required to assess if students needs are being met by the process and networking with other teachers or education professionals in their remit[43].

 

Tutorials are seen as a key part of careers education guidance, and the regular contact with tutors helps establish relationships of mutual understanding and trust. Furthermore it is conducted in a time away from academic pressure and the timetable, thus seen as a critical vehicle of careers guidance and distribution of good quality careers education. Further concepts can also be deployed through the tutorial methods such as encouraging self-study as an ‘autonomous learner’ through tutoring and provision of learning resources.

 

The Utilization of the careers diary will involve cycles of tutorials and guided self-study, reinforcing good techniques through review and feedback and support. It can empower students to securely explore their guidance requirements, and this approach can effectively be related to careers education and guidance. Furthermore good information and resources can have the aim of clarifying objectives and aims, developing strategies, activities, engagements, recording and self-help self assessment aids. Kent also notes that self-study materials cannot replace effective tutoring and so the two must go hand in hand. Materials just provide a basis for the discussion and planning avenues for enquiry.

 

The insight Kent provides for effective resourcing of tutorials describes their effectiveness as part of a planned programme of guidance. Furthermore, the sessions must be participatory, with clear agendas and expectation and support if crucial to success through review and feedback, further guidance and referrals within a loop. The importance therefore on the connections that tutors can help students make utilising activities, experiences and the social prospective to name a few can be highly instrumental in formulating career paths. Ultimately tutorials serve to consolidate the careers programme rather than replace it, therefore any publication must also take this into account.

 

Hamid Hashemi

Mayfair Consultants

 


[1] Private Tuition in England. 2009. DCSF RB081, Department for Children Schools and Families, The National Centre for Social Research and the Institute of Education, University of London Research Brief.

[2] Education & Skills Act 2008. http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2008/25/contents

[3] Statutory Guidance: Impartial Careers Education and Resources Pack. 2009, DCSF.

[4] Rogers, B. Careers Education and Guidance. A handbook and guide to careers education, guidance and training. 1984, (12-14). CRAC Hobsons, Cambridge.

[5] Ball, B. Careers Counselling in Practice. 1984, (10-12). The Falmer Press.

[6] Ali, L & Graham B. The Counselling Approach to Careers Guidance. 2009, (29-39). Routledge.

[7] Egan, G. The Skilled Helper. 1990, (28-55). Brooks/Cole Publishing.

[8] Nathan, R & Hill, L. Career Councelling. 2006, (9-12). Sage Publications

[9] Kidd, J. Understanding Career Counselling, Theory, Research and Practice. 2009, (13-31). Sage Publications.

[10] Gysbers, N, Heppner, M & Johnston J. Career Counselling – Process, Issues and Techniques. 1998 (5-14). Allyn and Bacon Publishers.

[11] Quality, Choice and Aspiration – A strategy for young peoples information, advice and guidance. Accompanying Quality Standards for Young people’s information, advice and guidance (IAG) 2009, DCSF.

[12] Youth Matters: Next Steps. Every Child Matters, 2005, DfES.

[13] Guidance and Careers Education. Nuffield Review of 14-19 Education Training, England and Wales. 2008, Issues paper 5.

[14] Inspecting Careers Education and Guidance pre- and post-16 with guidance on self-evaluation. 2001. HMI 731, Office for Standards in Education – The Office of Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Schools in England.

[15] Moving through the system – Information, advice and guidance. 2010, Office for Standards in Education.

[16] Towards a strong careers profession. Careers Profession Task Force. 2010, Department for Education.

[17] Careers coordinators in schools and working papers. 2009, DCSF.

[18] Andrews, D. ‘Non-teachers’ Moving into Roles traditionally undertaken by teachers: Benefits and Challenges – For Whom?’ 2006, Pastoral Care in Education (24;3, 28-31).

[19] Andrews, D. Careers Co-ordinators and Workforce Remodelling: an examination of the benefits and challenges when schools appoint non-teachers to the role of careers co-ordinators. 2005, National Institute for Careers Education and Councelling, NICEC.

[20] Andrews, D. Quality Awards for CEG in England, A survey of current availability and uptake. 2005.

[21] Andrews, D, Law, B, McGowan & Munro, M. Managing Careers Work in Schools, the roles of senior managers, careers coordinators and governors. 1998, NICEC & CRAC Report.

[22] Bowes, L, Smith, D & Morgan S. Reviewing the Evidence base for careers work in schools. 2005, Centre for Guidance Studies, University of Derby.

[23] Watts, A, Law, B, Killeen, J, Kidd, J & Hawthorn, R. Rethinking Careers Education and Guidance. 1996 (247-268). Routledge.

[24] Supporting Progression, Managing IAG and Career Development. 2007. Specialist Schools and Academies Trust.

[25] Peck, D. Careers Services. History, Policy and Practice in the United Kingdom. 2004 (91-100). Routledge.

[26] Careers Education and Guidance in England, A National Framework 11-19. 2002 DfES.

[27] Citizenship for 16-19 year olds in education and training. 2000, DfES.

[28] Financial capability through personal finance education. 2000, DfES.

[29] PSHE: Economic well being and financial capability, Programmes of study for KS3 and KS4. 2007, Qualifications and Curriculum Authority.

[30] Barnes, A, Bassot, B & Chant A. An Introduction to Career Learning and Development 11-19, Perspectives, Practices and Possibilities. 2011 (59-72; 86-95). Routledge.

[31] Work Talk, Languages Work. 2006, National Centre for Languages & DfES.

[32] Career, work-related learning and enterprise 11-19. 2008, Qualifications and Curriculum Authority.

[33] Vocational and work related learning at KS4, curriculum & standards. 2003, DfES.

[34] Miller, A, Watts, A & Jamieson, I. Rethinking Work Experience. 1991 (16-18). The Falmer Press.

[35] Barnes, A & Andrews, D. Developing Careers Education and Guidance in the Curriculum. 1995, (34-40). David Fulton Publishers.

[36] Young People’s Views on Finding out about Jobs and Careers. 2009. British Youth Council & NCB.

[37] Talking about careers, young peoples view of careers education in school. 1998. DfES and NEFR.

[38] Into the Future: Young people’s and teachers’ views on careers advice. 2001. National Youth Agency and the Local Government Association.

[39] Morris, M. The Case for careers Education and Guidance for 14-19 year olds. 2004, National Foundation for Educational Research.

[40] McNicol, S. Investigating the provision of careers education in schools. 2006. Evidence Base – University of Central England.

[41] Law, B & Watts, A. Schools, Careers and Community. 1977, (126-127). CIO Publishing.

[42] Bosley, C, Krechowiecka, I & Moon, S. Review of Literature on the use of Information and communication technology in the context of careers education and guidance. 2005, Centre for Guidance Studies, University of Derby.

[43] Frost, D, Edwards, A, Reynolds, H. Careers Education and Guidance. 1995 (36-49). Kogan Page Publishers.

Developing an education system committed to promoting social mobility

 

 

Developing an education system committed to promoting social mobility

Education policy looks set to be one of the most controversial issues facing the new

coalition government. The Conservatives’ Swedish free school model, conflict over

higher education fees, and question marks over whether the Conservatives are willing

to make available the £2.5 billion investment in schools demanded by their coalition

partners, are all cracks that will take some papering over. Education is an area, however,

that must be prioritised. Despite sweeping to power in 1997 promising ‘education,

education, education’ Labour’s legacy is distinctly mixed and Britain continues to lose

ground to the rest of the industrialised world.

 

Demanding ever greater investment in education is no longer a satisfactory antidote,

especially as the new government seeks to address Britain’s huge deficit. Indeed, though

many have questioned its methods, few would belittle the financial commitment New

Labour made to state education. The biggest issue facing the new government is how to

improve standards and to create an education system able to promote social mobility.

Earlier this year a major report by the National Equality Panel concluded that rather than

being fixed at birth, inequalities related to family background widen through the years

of compulsory education. Seized upon by the Conservatives as a further sign of Britain’s

broken society the new Lib-Con coalition has already pledged to “close the attainment

gap between richest and poorest” as one its fundamental priorities.

 

images

 

For both the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats the answer is more targeted

funding through the ‘pupil premium’ that will ensure more money is allocated to pupils

from disadvantaged backgrounds. A policy of targeted funding has in fact existed in

all but name for many years. A recent research paper by CfBT Education Trust found

that on average primary schools are already allocated 71% more funding for admitting a

pupil from a disadvantaged background, a figure that rises to 77% for secondary schools.

Although this funding was to a certain extent flattened by Local Authorities it seems

that neither increased investment nor better targeted funding should be seen as the magic

bullet.

 

One of the few innovative policy initiatives in recent years that specifically pledged

to target ailing pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds was Labour’s £500 million

commitment to provide one-to-one tuition to all pupils aged seven to eleven years old

falling behind in Maths and English starting in September 2010. Had Labour gained a

fourth term it seems this would have become one of its flagship policies, offering a vital

safety net to catch those pupils who have the academic ability to do well but perhaps

lack the foundations of a stable, supportive family background. Although the Lib-Dem

manifesto envisaged one-to-one tuition as an important part of the pupil premium, the

Conservatives’ focus on the free schools initiative and the reluctance to provide extra

funding to the sector suggests it will soon be forgotten.

 

However, if the coalition is serious about reaching the estimated 300,000 pupils who fall

behind their peers every year it would do well to build on its predecessor’s ideas rather

than start anew. The greatest weakness surrounding current political debates on one-toone tuition is

the tendency to ignore completely the private tutoring sector. Labour was

determined to draw its reserve army of tutors from the ranks of current, former or retired

teachers and the failure of initial trials has been blamed on the shortage of willing recruits

and the over-reliance on existing teachers with already burgeoning workloads. Although

to some extent unregulated the private sector boasts a well-organised network of highly

intelligent and well-motivated tutors, perhaps better able to instil a passion for learning

than an exhausted teacher after a full working day.

 

By embracing the private tutoring sector the government has the chance both to utilise the

extensive network of existing tutors and to establish greater regulation across the tutoring

business. There is already talk within the sector of establishing an Association of Tutors

to regularise and improve standards and such an organisation could provide well-trained

tutors who have been carefully vetted. In return the state could consider setting up an

education resource bank containing teaching resources carefully tailored to the national

curriculum for tutors to draw upon. In this way the quality of tutoring and the teaching

materials used would be well safeguarded.

 

The promise of universal one-to-one tuition for those who are falling behind was an

ambitious pledge and one that could have played a major role in improving levels

of attainment amongst pupils of all social backgrounds. If the new government is

determined to improve educational standards then it may be an initiative it can ill afford

to spurn.

 

 

Patrick Meehan & Hamid Hashemi

Mayfair Consultants

23 Berkeley Square

London W1J 6HE

T 020 7665 6606

F 020 7665 6650

www.mayfairconsultants.co.uk

Online Computing based resources for GCSE & A Level Computing tutors and learners

Computer Science GCSE

An article published in the Guardian newspaper recently highlighted some very useful web-based computing resources. These are especially useful for GCSE and A Level students and tutors.

These are listed below.

www.mrfraser.org

Mr Fraser is computer science resource is particularly useful for GCSE and A Level computing. Here you can find past exam papers, lesson plans, practical ICT resources.

www.tecoed.co.uk

Dan Aldred – TECOED – This website contains many resources along with lesson plans, useful information for coders and learning programming as well as plenty of information for Raspberry Pi entheusiasts. These pages are suitable for both primary and secondary age school children and computing tutors with useful ideas for GCSE and A Level computer science courses.

www.computingatschool.org.uk

Computing a School (CAS) is a resource for computing educators, and information on computing events and practical lesson ideas. There are also videos and other useful programming information.

Computing

www.cambridgegcsecomputing.org

Cambridge OCR computing videos and resources online provides videos and explanations on key computing concepts. There are also interactive tasks especially useful for GCSE students and exam preparation.

www.dcs.bbk.ac.uk

The Department of Computer Science and Information Systems at Birkbeck is one of the oldest computing departments in the UK. This centre brings together research and teaching expertise in Information Management and Web Technologies, Computational Intelligence and Information Systems.

www.codecademy.com

Code Academy is the ideal website to get started with programming and coding with useful information and resources for learning the diverse array of programming languages. There is an academy that you can register for that allows you top code with JavaScript, jQuery, PHP, Ruby and Python as well as learn with HTML.

www.neuroproductions.be/logic-lab/

To learn more about computing hardware the look no further than the Logic Lab. This website offers interactive usability  for tinkering with logic gates. This is a useful resource for both primary and secondary computing studies and computer science.

http://forums.cisco.com/CertCom/game/binary_game_page.htm

If you are looking for a Data Representation resource the the cisco binary game offers the opportunity to learn how to convert to binary. It is aimed at key stage 3 and 4 students and teachers / tutors. There are also paper exercises for learners to complete.

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Academic & Key Skills Development

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Academic & Keys Skills Development Strategies Summary

Our Focus

Our methods are based on experience and we are constantly evolving our strategies to suit individual students. We appreciate that everyone learns in different ways, and the challenge is to mould young minds and harness their mental abilities in the best possible way.

Our main areas of focus are as follows:

• Skills development audit, as an integral part of the study programme.
• Reflection on academic development and goals for its progression.
• Long-term study skills and aptitude development agenda.

The skill sets that will be audited are listed below:

Academic skills

1. To analyze critically, summarize and evaluate information for its subsequent application.
2. To enhance numeracy, problem solving skills and mental arithmetic.
3. To assemble, interpret and manipulate both quantitative and qualitative data appropriately.
4. To conduct accurate and comprehensive note taking and note diagrams (“Mind Maps”) in a systematic manner so as to demonstrate its purpose.
5. To continually enhance literacy skills through a variety of literature and media.
6. To understand methodological approaches and techniques and their relevant application.
7. To improve the ability to structure and present information to a variety of audiences in both written and oral modes.
8. Enhance the application and appropriate use of learning aids and techniques to process, discuss and demonstrate knowledge within the field.
9. To convey structured information in appropriate forms within different learning environments, through the awareness of its objective and its communication to a lay audience.
10. Using Information Technology (IT) for researching, managing, presenting and recording information in its numerous forms.
11. To write clearly and legibly in a style appropriate to its purpose.
12. To be aware of time, its use and restraints enhancing ones ability to motivate oneself and work towards meeting deadlines.

Key skills

1. To employ time management techniques and promote the ability to schedule multiple personal and study commitments within designated time periods in order to meet demands and goals.
2. To enhance linguistic skills and build a broad repertoire of languages for a more rounded ability to communicate globally.
3. To enhance cognitive awareness skills.
4. To develop IT and computing skills such as word processors, imaging software, databases, programming languages and web design programmes.
5. The ability to converse effectively with individuals, to appreciate their viewpoint along with the ability to give and receive constructive feedback.
6. To work as an equal contributor within wider partnerships, envisaging an ability to contribute towards achieving goals.
7. To define and apply strategies for the solution of conceptual or practical
problems ultimately aiming for self-reliance.
8. Ability to develop theoretical concepts and to think in an original reasoned and focused manner that is likely to come to fruition.
9. Ability to take effective steps towards career progression through setting realistic and achievable goals. 10. To demonstrate the awareness of transferable skills within the wider context and their application to academic and work environments. 11. To employ memory building techniques and various “Mind Gym” exercises such as employing mental workouts and stimulation, whilst building ones imprinting skills.

These skill subsets in our opinion are the foundations for a healthy academic career, most are guidelines also emphasized by the UK Research Councils skills training requirements for university students especially at a postgraduate level. In essence they ensure all the necessary skills are tackled providing the student with the best possible chance of success in their academic career.

Language Tuition and Voices in Todays World

books

Lost in Translation – Interpreter and translator ALICE TOZER considers which language a

word-thirsty Mayfairian would be best advised to turn his or her tongue to…

 

Mayfair Consultants featured in ‘The Mayfair Magazine’

 

IT’S DIFFICULT BEING an English adult when it comes to learning another language. Not only are we notoriously lazy about it, we’re also left with the task of cherry-picking a lesser-spoken tongue. For foreigners the option is pretty clear: English – that language which vies with Spanish and Chinese as the world’s most widely spoken. But where do we, lucky natural harbourers of this tricky and versatile tongue, invest our energies once we are keen to shed our reputation for linguistic lethargy or, worse still, arrogance?

The language chosen must surely go hand-in-hand with the reasons why: business or pleasure? Given economic growth, many might assume that Mandarin is the best place for a professional to start. All well and good, until the initial otherness found in the exotic tones has worn off; there are some four thousand characters to commit to memory even before you can add subtleties of communication conveyed by even more. A significant drawback is Mandarin’s inability to transfer into a universal computer friendly language, and this is a factor which might deter a real linguistic world dominance. However, learning Mandarin would be the ultimate in self-confidence boosting.

Let’s keep it exotic for a moment; is Japanese a little easier, perhaps? No. And regardless, despite Japan being the third-largest economy in the world, it’s not a particularly useful language to learn given the confines of where it is spoken (essentially Japan with some over bubbling of the borders). It would be a good investment from the point of view that few Japanese grasp English well. But all things considered, it might make more business sense to learn some cultural etiquette instead and grin and bear your pidgin Japanese efforts. Remember, never pour a drink yourself (always allow someone else to do it for you) and go heavy on the noodle slurping (this exhibits your enjoyment of them; not doing so rudely suggests they were inedible).

German seems increasingly in demand on the translation circuit. However, a large cross-section of Germans are spectacularly good at English, so unless you reach a high level of competency in their language your efforts will likely be embarrassing. Enter French. It doubles as an official UN and EU language (alongside English and Spanish), thus carrying a certain political kudos and there are some fifty countries with French-speaking heritage worldwide, comprising almost a third of the world. And, whilst you might not be a regular business traveller to Vanuatu, you might well have business or skiing ties in Switzerland where French speaking comes into its own. Most of the population in business hub Geneva do speak French (72.3%), with English being second-most common (but a big equivalent at 4.2%).

Belgium, particularly Brussels, is another business honeypot where French is a Francophone minority but has influence. Whilst English flows freely in both locations, true penetration of either of these business worlds would be far superior if served with a smattering of the Gallic tongue. After all, it might be possible to close a deal with a motley collection of business English but what if you want to take business to a deeper level? In the words of Nelson Mandela, ‘If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his own language, that goes to his heart.’

Where passions are involved, Spanish isn’t far away. It has the second greatest number of speakers on the planet; some 329 million, second behind Mandarin which has a whopping four times the amount. Spanish would be an excellent bet from the point of view of ease, given its logical (to the English eye) grammatical structure and phonetic nature. Business men and women wishing to invest and trade with Latin America’s natural resource piles will definitely increase their chances of success if they speak Spanish, given most people don’t speak English in that neck of the woods. Back in Iberia, the Spanish aren’t renowned for their English-speaking prowess either, so you’ll feel useful as a minimum.

 

MAYF AUG 12 LANGUAGES

 

A UNESCO list of the world’s most widely spoken languages by number of native speakers also flags up Hindi, Arabic, Bengali, Russian and Portuguese. There is a definite element of sense to learning one of these black swan languages; it gives you a niche market to thrive in. ‘In the last four years we have noticed a real shift away from the traditional French, Spanish, German linguistic portfolio in favour of Arabic, Hindi and Polish,’ says Hamid Hashemi, Director of Mayfair Consultants’ Tuition Services. The company welcomes clients from the Royal College of Music to the Department for the Environment; from top publishers to hedge funds. ‘The latter type of clients will take up Spanish and French, yes, but there has been a clear reduction in conventional languages. Brazilian Portuguese is on the up, though, tending to be because of people moving there.’ The company provides expert one-to-one tuition at workplaces or home.

If you’re starting from scratch, little and often is the key so you might benefit from several of these. Or, if you’re more seasoned in your language, top-up with one blast to blow away the cobwebs. Though practical, online language courses are a false ticket to success in many cases and at best offer refreshment for the more experienced speaker. Aside from rigidity, isolation and eye-stinging from the screen factor, they rid language of everything it symbolises: communication with people. The fourth and final option is to up sticks and turn a mundane week at home into a full-on linguistic immersion abroad.

Learning a language is many people’s bête noire. Immersion may make for a more natural grasp of the lingo but, still, follow recent professional advice for adult language learners and don’t obsess with getting the accent perfect. It probably won’t happen, it distracts you from the content element (the key here) and it lowers morale. Face up to the fact that the ability to mimic accents is a true property of childhood neuroplasticity. And instead embark gently on a language journey which – even for the hyperpolyglots out there – becomes a lifelong challenge and your most faithful companion too.

 

 

 

 

Steps to success – raising the potential of all children

 

 

Steps to success

 

Record figures for exam results suggest that today’s youth are smarter, more conscientious and focused than their predecessors. Yet, a decade into the new millennium disparity still remains at the heart of educational attainment amongst school children. This further stresses the need for educational systems to evolve in their delivery of effective teaching practices and programmes within schools. The recent DSCF white paper on building a 21st Century school system goes a long way in highlighting the steps required to bring about this change, emphasising above all the need for a holistic approach.

Meeting the societal requirements and bridging the gap between high and low achievers will be a gradual and continual process. However, sustaining that change effectively and efficiently poses its own challenges and dilemmas. The onus lies upon key players in education at all levels, public and private, to provide pupils with the support they need in order to set the wheels of change in motion.

The new Pupil Guarantee in the government’s white paper has proposed that each child should have a personal tutor, recognising the value of personalised support. The government’s plans to provide extra tuition for struggling students are welcomed even though this is to be piloted only in Maths and English.

 

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Once pupils are directed on the right path they are more likely to follow it and most need just an extra push in the right direction that will hopefully rub off onto other areas. However, teachers in schools are faced with students of mixed abilities, making it difficult to teach the class at the level that everyone can benefit from. For the personalisation of learning to be effective, it needs to be accompanied by smaller numbers or groups of similar ability. Lower parental aspirations have also been seen to correlate with lower achievement. Although teachers can play a role in tackling these low aspirations, with an already burdening workload it is questionable whether teachers will have the time to also provide advice within a mentorship capacity.

Socioeconomic factors and low parental aspirations also affect the distribution of tuition services. However, private personal tuition plays an important, if unseen, role in helping some students to achieve exam success and has the potential to play a much greater role. In many respects, it is better to supply pupils with a wellequipped, fresh and motivated tutor rather than an exhausted teacher who has already worked a full day. This is particularly important when the aim of the tuition is to get students back on track and on par with their peers.

A model consistently used by ourselves is the incorporation of study skills, aptitude and mentoring within our academic tuition sessions. During a typical session the tutor provides the academic help required to boost performance whilst incorporating a different study technique every lesson to build on the student’s repertoire of skills. They also provide mentorship, guidance, motivation, and career advice within the lesson.

The tutoring business is a fairly unregulated profession. Concerns are also raised amongst many about the competency of tutors and there is no doubt that they must be carefully selected. We are working on an Association of Tutors as an umbrella organisation to address the issues with qualifications and competency, and also to provide tutors with further training opportunities to deliver the different elements desired of a 21st Century tutor.

Life’s successes hinge on good academic qualifications, strong social abilities and a set of key and transferable skills. These factors build confidence for an independent life after school through instilling lifelong learning strategies and the strong discipline necessary for self-sufficient study. The logistics of how tuition services on the ground could play a greater role in achieving these aspirations may entail local collaborations between schools and tutorial agencies or a more centralised association of tutors that is held accountable for its success or failures. Budgets for schools and their technological enhancements must also improve and as many teachers as possible must be lured back to teaching with a real increase in pay incentives and support. The transformation of schools to meet the white paper’s challenges and to realise the potential of all children to succeed through achievement and discipline remains critical.

 

As featured in Central Govenment Public Sector Review

Hamid Hashemi

Mayfair Consultants

23 Berkeley Square

London W1J 6HE

Tel: +44 (0)20 7665 6606

Fax: +44 (0)20 7665 6650

www.mayfairconsultants.co.uk

THE ROLE OF THE PRIVATE EDUCATION SECTOR WITHIN AIDED SCHOOLS

 

 

As budgets are cut and belts tightened across the United Kingdom, not even our most

primary of needs, education, has escaped the wrath. With no guarantee of when things

are likely to improve, schools are faced with making difficult choices about to how best

to manage shrinking budgets, while still meeting an increasing number of targets and

obligations. The imposition of statutory duties upon schools to provide impartial careers

advice is an example where head teachers will have to source these services from the

private sector, as public services such as Connexions, a service that used to lie within

schools and high streets across the nation, are dismantled.

 

Another equally large grey area of private expenditure in education, within both schools

and households, is that of private tuition – including tutors for homework clubs, special

educational needs and exam revision. In 2009, under the former Labour government, the

Department for Children, Schools and Families sanctioned a research brief on private

tuition in England, conducted by the National Centre for Social Research and the Institute

of Education. The report outlined the scale of private tuition in England, and how the

sector operates, describing the industry as largely ‘hidden’, despite the finding that there

are over 500 private tuition agencies operating regionally and nationally. The study

created a national database of commercial tuition agencies and three specimen local

databases of independent tutors, in order to help schools find and recruit private tutors.

The former government’s bold pledge for private Maths and English tuition to reach

300,000 pupils in aided schools by 2011 was soon to be dampened by the coalition’s

Department for Education.

 

Since the recent announcement by Education Secretary Michael Gove that funding will

no longer be ring fenced for one-to-one tuition schemes in state schools, the role of

private tuition in supporting disadvantaged pupils looks uncertain. The pilot schemes

introduced under the Labour government saw many state schools and academies using

private tutoring agencies to offer blocks of ten one-to-one sessions to pupils who were

struggling in Maths or English. While the coalition government has still pledged to reach

the 300,000 pupils who are falling behind in Maths and English each year, there has been

some debate over whether the coalition’s “pupil premium” for children from the poorest

families actually amounts to extra funding, or whether it is simply a redistribution of the

existing education budget. One thing, however, is clear: schools and academies must now

decide for themselves what role one-to-one tuition will play in reaching those pupils who

are falling behind.

 

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At present, parents who can afford it are already making good use of private tutors:

a 2009 Ipsos MORI survey of state school pupils found that the proportion receiving

private tuition had increased in five years from 18% to 22% nationally, and in London

that scale is significantly higher, with an increase from 36% to a staggering 43%. These

figures highlight the problems of addressing the widening social and educational gap,

when private tuition is simply not affordable to many of the families who would benefit

from it most.

 

Few would dispute the benefits of pupils receiving one-to-one attention, especially at

critical stages such as the transition from Primary to Secondary, and in the run-up to

GCSEs. Individual tuition can offer personalised learning that responds to pupils’ needs,

as well as helping to clarify key concepts and develop study skills. Less discussed are

the particular advantages of using tutors outside of the school environment, and the

possibilities of creating strong relationships between the state system and the private

tutoring sector. Overstretched teachers are not always in the best position to reach those

pupils who may have become disillusioned with the learning process. On the other hand,

most private tutors work part-time and do not have to deal with the discipline issues of

teaching large classes; the one-to-one relationship allows more room for tutors to act as

mentors and academic role models. Furthermore, most one-to-one tutoring takes place

in the home of the pupil, and this in itself can encourage improved parental engagement

with the child’s learning.

 

None of this is to say that private tutors are somehow ‘better’ teachers than those working

in the classroom. The role of extra one-to-one tuition from the private sector should

always be to support the existing teaching in state schools, and as such stronger links

between schools and tutoring agencies are key. However, the largely fragmented and

unregulated nature of the tutoring industry could be seen to hamper the development of

mutually beneficial arrangements between the public and private sectors. Now that the

onus is on individual schools and academies to sign up for or continue with one-to-one

tuition schemes, the need for a more cohesive approach has never been greater. Indeed,

there have been calls from those working within the private sector for a progression

towards regulation, so that the relationship with state education can become more open

and accountable, benefiting both individual pupils and the reputation of tutoring agencies.

 

By:

Ruby Radburn & Hamid Hashemi – Academic Consultant

As featured in Government & Public Sector Journal

Mayfair Consultants

23 Berkeley Square,

London W1J 6HE

T 020 7665 6606

F 020 7665 6650

www.mayfairconsultants.co.uk