Saturday 28 April 2012

"Please Sir, What do I have to do?" "Expletive deleted"

Yes, they should have already done all their assignments and now just be concentrating on some merit and distinction grade work, or taking time to look for a job but, no, their folders are looking pretty thin so I have published some very simple guides and more notes to remind them what they need to do and which tasks meet which criteria.

Whether this actually makes any difference over the next few weeks remains to be seen but at least this will save me a huge amount of time!

Bearing in mind that some will be just starting to do some actual work on May 1 you do have to wonder why we run courses for forty odd weeks when they do almost everything they need to pass in just seven.

HNC Level 4

Unit 4 Project Development
Assignment 2 Guide
Unit 14 Web Design: Assignment 2 Guide

National Diploma Level 3

Unit 4 The Impact of IT on Organisations
Unit 8 E-commerce
Unit 30: Digital Graphics
Unit 42 Spreadsheets

First Diploma Level 2

Unit 5 Supporting Organisations with IT
Assignment 2 Guide
Assignment 3 Guide
Unit 17 Web Development (1st task, others to come)
Unit 27 Spreadsheets
Unit 29 Presenting Information with IT
Unit 35 Digital Graphics

Wednesday 18 April 2012

More education and project funding for those who know how to get it

Quite a mixed bag this month! There are grants from £1000 to £10000 for local heritage, music and the young with creative ideas. £18 million for fostering co-operation with African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States.

Heritage Lottery Fund Launches All Our Stories Grants Scheme

The Heritage Lottery Fund has launched a new £1 million grants programme called "All Our Stories" to support local projects across the UK that want to explore their local heritage.

A wide range of voluntary and community sector organisations (including charities, community groups, and heritage organisations) throughout the UK can apply for grants of between £3,000 and £10,000.

Funding will support activities which encourage exploring and learning about local heritage. Groups should be willing to share what they have learned with their community by doing things like holding a community event, performance, exhibition or producing a leaflet or designing a smart phone app or website, etc.

Activities that will be supported are:
  • Visits to places like historic buildings, landscapes, parks, burial grounds, museums, archaeological sites or industrial heritage sites like railways.
  • Using collections like archives, libraries and museums, including collections held by people in the community.
  • Talking to people who know about heritage or holding workshops, talks and sessions exploring people's memories.
  • Recording things like people's memories or local wildlife; scanning old photographs and documents; archaeological digs or surveying historic buildings.
Groups will be able to work with researchers from 21 universities and other educational organisations across the UK who will be available to support projects from the beginning of the application process as well as the research itself.

All Our Stories has been developed in support of the BBC's The Great British Story - A People's History, which is a new series to be broadcast on BBC Two. All Our Stories will also feature in five BBC Learning events at flagship heritage locations, which will be run in tandem with the TV series, to get people involved with their local heritage.

The deadline for applications is 31 July 2012 with a notification of decisions in October 2012.

European Museum of the Year Award and Council of Europe Museum Prize Now Open to Entries for 2013

The European Museum of the Year Award (EMYA) and Council of Europe Museum Prize Scheme are now open to entries for the 2013 Awards.

The Awards aim to recognise excellence in European museums and to encourage innovation and enterprise.
#EMYA is the longest running museum award in Europe. It is presented to a museum which contributes to attracting and satisfying visitors with a 'unique atmosphere, imaginative interpretation and presentation, a creative approach to education and social responsibility'.

The Council of Europe Museum Prize also recognises excellence and aims to highlight the need to promote and preserve European cultural heritage as a link uniting the Council of Europe's 47 member states. The criteria of the award have been revised to emphasise the Council's priorities which include human rights, social inclusion, responsible citizenship, cultural democracy and European identity.

Museums of any size can enter the awards, but they must be based in a Council of Europe member country and have either opened to the public in the past two years, or have completed a substantial programme of modernisation, extension, reorganisation or re-interpretation in the past two years.

The deadline for entries is 31 May 2012.

Community Learning Trust Pilots Launched

The Skills Funding Agency has launched the opportunity for community learning providers to become part of the Community Learning Trust Pilots.

The Pilots aim to put local communities in charge of their own community learning development and to test a variety of models and implementation options.

Proposals are welcomed from community learning providers who are directly funded through the Skills Funding Agency's Community Learning (previously Adult Safeguarded Learning) £210 million budget.

Applicants are not bidding for extra financial resources and will receive the same funding allocation in 2012/13 as in 2011/12. Providers should assume that there is no additional funding for pilot areas.

It is expected that between 10 and 15 pilots will be selected. The final selection will reflect the need to pilot different delivery models to test the community learning trust vision and implementation options.

The deadline for full applications is 25 May 2012.

NIACE will be holding two roadshows for prospective trusts that have started to develop their proposals, ie forming partnerships and engaging at a local level to develop their model. The roadshows will take place in Birmingham (8 May) and London (9 May). Further details are available on the NIACE website<>.

Preparatory Actions in the Field of Sport - 2012 Open Call Launched (EU)

The 2012 open Call for Proposals for the Preparatory Action European Partnership on Sports has now been launched.

The main objective of the Call is to prepare future EU actions in the field of sport, on the basis of the Sport Chapter of the proposed Programme for Education, Training, Youth and Sport - Erasmus for All (2014-2020).

Support is available for transnational projects put forward by public bodies and not-for-profit organisations which will identify and test suitable networks and good practices in the field of sport in the following areas:

* The fight against match-fixing.
* The promotion of physical activity supporting active ageing.
* Awareness-raising about effective ways of promoting sport at municipal level.
* Trans-frontier joint grassroots sport competitions in neighbouring regions and Member States.

A total of €3.5 million is available. Proposals must include a transnational network with partners from a minimum of five EU Member States. Projects must start between 1 January 2013 and 31 March 2013 and end no later than 30 June 2014.

The deadline for submission of proposals is 31 July 2012.

Ideas Fund Innovators - New Round Open to Applications

A new deadline has been announced for the Ideas Fund Innovators scheme, sponsored by IdeasTap.

Each application round (there are four per year) offers ten awards of £1,000 to young people within the UK between the ages of 16 and 25, who have a creative project in any artistic discipline that they want to get off the ground. In the past, dance and film projects, music videos and photography collectives have been supported.

The Fund will consider applications from groups or individuals within the UK for inspiring, original, realistic and innovative arts and creative projects, providing one person takes the lead and has the main responsibility for managing the application and any money awarded.

Applications must demonstrate that the Fund will enhance the quality and ambition of their ideas and projects in ways that would not be possible without the support of the Fund. Applicants must also be able to show that the project has not been done before. Applicants must be aged between 16 and 25 on 22 June 2012 and be resident in the UK.

The next deadline for applications is 22 June 2012.


The EMI Music Sound Foundation provides grants to help towards the purchase of musical instruments and/or equipment for individuals who are in full time education and Schools who require the equipment to fund music education. The Foundation also funds courses and training opportunities for music teachers who work within schools.

Eligible applicants include:

Schools to fund music education (with the exception of statutory national curriculum music teaching).

Individuals in full time education to fund musical instrument/equipment purchase (preference is given to under 25s).

Music teachers working within schools to fund courses and training.

Grants of no more than £2,000 are available.
The closing day for applications is Wednesday 12 September 2012.

Any applications received after this date will be passed onto the next Trustees' meeting.


The Call for Proposals for EDULINK II, ACP-EU Co-operation Programme in Higher Education has now been launched.

A total of €23.3 million is available for this Call which is open to public or private Higher Educational Institutions (HEIs), networks of HEIs and Regional Institutions of Higher Education. The aim of the Call is to continue fostering co-operation in the field of Higher Education between the countries of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP States) and the European Union.

Proposals will have to address one of the following two priority areas:
  • Energy access and efficiency
  • Agriculture and food security
The specific objectives are to increase the capacity of ACP HEIs at two levels:
  • Management /Administration
  • Academic
Proposals will aim at supporting HEIs in ACP States to create new and upgrade existing curricula and teaching methods, reinforce links between teaching, modern technologies, lifelong learning and research, as well as strengthening their management and administration capacity.
The deadline for applications is 30 July 2012.

Wednesday 11 April 2012

Learning Styles Don't Exist.

After years of putting little charts in each student's file and convincing observers that I took account of these when planning the lessons they were observing it will give me great pleasure to circulate this around the Great and the Good in teacher training, quality management and CPD departments.

The students did enjoy answering the huge pile of questions I set out for them during their induction week and now I shall have to think up something else. I've always had doubts about its validity but this is the first time I have seen it so clearly expressed.

Now, what can I keep them occupied with for an hour or two in September? Show them a video? Maybe read them a story. Or I could get them to make something, perhaps. Hmm... might as well do all three. Just in case!

Wednesday 4 April 2012

Funding for Business: A New Choice for School or College Leavers

Under the Youth Investment Fund Pilot for Upcoming Entrepreneurs there is an anticipated overall budget of £10 million available for a scheme to assist young people who choose not to go to university to access low interest loans for starting up a business.

It will be based on the current student loan system but instead of funding course fees and academic study the money can enable a new business idea to get off the ground where, currently, only the few with ample security or exceptionally impressive cash-flow forecasts for something almost guaranteed to succeed stand much chance at that age.

Outline details of the proposed Youth Investment Fund were announced in the 2012 Budget. It has now been confirmed that the scheme will be piloted in partnership with the National Youth Enterprise Working Group, whoever they are. Loans are expected to be worth between £5,000 and £10,000 per individual, young entrepreneurs aged 18-24 who are planning to start up a business enterprise in the UK will be eligible to apply for a loan.

This should also provide interesting opportunities for those with project development and business experience not only to assess the feasibility of proposals but also to provide guidance en route. It does rather beg the question, though, as to how that assessment would work. To get the funds to attend university the terms are pretty clear: get the grades the institution requires and away you go. No questions asked thereafter. How strong will the business proposal have to be? Too heavy feasibility requirements and few students will stand a chance, and only those who might reasonably have expected to get funding through traditional routes (or a Dragon's Den type of scheme, which, incidentally is also being proposed) would get any. A too easy-going, "Here's some cash, go see what you can do with it", approach risks huge waste of public funds.

Then there is the question of the proportion of the £10 million that actually reaches the youngsters. When information learning technology and e-learning were all the rage a decade ago there were billions floating around a nation of quangos, agencies and associations of the good, bad and, unfortunately plain ugly too, of which precious little trickled down to classrooms and training for those that needed it. My first reaction to seeing this fund was to think "Yes, I'd like to run one of the organisations assessing applications, doling out the dosh and monitoring the budding businesses." That was, frankly, because it could be a nice, well-remunerated job requiring skills that very much matched mine and they'd need quite a few of us as well, of course, as a Board or Executive of the Great and the Good who would also share in the rapidly diminishing £10 million. Assuming, as one must I suppose, that it is well run and not just a budget-rescuing scheme for failing Further Education Colleges then this could be a great opportunity for those who have good skills and a good idea to do something constructive and, if nothing else, it will provide a far better experience of the real world than their colleagues either at university or lounging around at home will receive.

The Government is currently looking for private and third sector organisations to help run the scheme nationwide during its pilot phase, which will commence before summer 2012 and last for one year. The Government is planning to have the scheme running fully and evaluated in time for the 2013 Budget. So if you're Great or Good, apply soon before the sharks do.

The scheme is yet to open to applications. Details and deadline information (if applicable) will be advised when available.