Chapter 2 – Colleges
A Valued and Valuable Choice
- Senior phase pupils from schools across Scotland benefited from new vocational opportunities delivered by colleges.
- In academic year ( AY) 2014-15, in addition to the existing school-college activity, the Scottish Funding Council ( SFC) supported 7 college regions, in partnership with 9 local authorities and 61 schools, to develop 19 new courses at SCQF level 5 and above. These courses recruited over 290 senior phase pupils as part of pilots (called early adopters) to explore and develop new senior phase vocational pathways.
- For AY 2015-16, this activity has grown to include all college regions working with 24 local authorities across 223 schools. Early SFC estimates suggest that over 170 courses have been provided and these have recruited over 2,500 senior phase pupils.
- In AY 2014-15, Skills Development Scotland ( SDS) developed 2 pilot foundation apprenticeships (called pathfinders) in partnership with Fife and West Lothian College, recruiting a total of 75 pupils on to these courses. A foundation apprenticeship offers young people the chance to start an MA in school, alongside other qualifications and awards.
- For AY 2015-16, SDS has expanded the number of foundation apprenticeships pathfinders to 29 across 6 skills sectors, recruiting around 300 senior phase pupils from across 20 local authorities and involving 9 college regions.
- Analysis of the AY 15-16 Outcome Agreements provide evidence that the majority of colleges have, or are in the process of, realigning their curriculum to better meet the needs of employers. This includes all college OAs outlining how to develop STEM provision and uptake within the context of their broader contribution to Developing the Young Workforce .
- SFC plan to publish their interim Gender Action Plan early in 2016 - focused on addressing gender imbalances and signposting intentions to address gender inequality more broadly. The second phase will be published by mid-2016.
- Colleges supported to play their part in implementation, receiving £1.5m over 14-15 and 15-16 from the Developing the Young Workforce implementation budget to develop their gender action plan and build the sector’s capacity to expand opportunities for young people.
Colleges in Scotland contribute a significant amount to Scotland’s economy and represent a national resource of skills and training expertise. The Commission’s report recognised this and highlighted the reformed sector as having a positive impact on the resources, innovation and enterprise that colleges will play in implementing their recommendations.
Fresh from implementing the most profound set of public sector reforms in Scottish tertiary education for more than a generation, colleges have risen to the challenge set out in the Youth Employment Strategy. As a sector already focused on promoting skills which help people get in to the world of work and which support economic growth, colleges have focused their efforts on enhancing their existing strong links with schools and employers.
In capturing the progress colleges are making in implementing Developing the Young Workforce, this report outlines the key role they are playing in working with schools and local authorities to plan and deliver an enriched senior phase curriculum offer and increase the range of learning options available to young people. This includes new foundation apprenticeships which enable school pupils to undertake elements of a Modern Apprenticeship during the senior phase of school.
From academic year 2015-16 all college outcome agreements contain clear statements outlining the college’s contribution to senior phase vocational pathways, demonstrating how the planned offering relates to the needs in the region and how it engages employers. The ambitions set out in outcome agreements forecast a significant increase in the number of young people participating in pathways at college to over 2500 in this academic year. Colleges also represent a strong model of employer engagement, working closely with regional, national – sometimes international – employers to align provision with industry need.
However, there are many challenges ahead, not least in relation to public funding. Colleges will also have to break through barriers to demonstrate how vocational pathways are valued by employers and therefore a secure option for young people to pursue. They will need to develop consistency in the quality of the school/college partnerships ensuring that planning cycles in colleges, schools and LAs are aligned so choices for young people are available at the right time. And they must promote the uptake of new opportunities so that more young people are able to benefit from the increased range of options on offer in the senior phase.
Progress So Far
DELIVERY YEAR 1 – ACADEMIC YEAR 2014 – 2015
Early adopter activity for senior phase pupils established in seven college regions;
In academic year 2014/15 SFC supported seven early adopter college regions to work in partnership with local authorities, schools, employers and other key partners to explore and develop senior phase vocational pathways. The learning emerging from this activity has been used to shape the expectations set out for colleges in SFC College Outcome Agreement Guidance for 2015-16. An interim evaluation of the early adopter programme was published by SFC in November 2015 with a final report following early in the new Year .
Key performance measures agreed with college sector;
For AY 2015-16, college regions have committed to increases in activity for pupils in their senior phase, demonstrating the ambition to offer a wider range of courses.
College outcome agreements for academic year 2015-16 developed with involvement from local authorities;
From AY 2015-16, all college outcome agreements contain clear statements outlining the college’s contribution to senior phase vocational pathways in their region, developed in partnership with schools, local authorities and others, demonstrating how the planned offering relates to the needs in the region and how it engages employers. You can view the College Outcome Agreements here.
A joint plan from Scottish Funding Council and Skills Development Scotland to support the use of Skills Investment Plans and Regional Skills Assessments to inform college outcome agreements and the allocation of Modern Apprenticeships.
Joint plan published in April 2015. The framework reaffirms the commitment from both partners to working together to achieve the best possible outcomes for young people in Scotland. Agreed that underpinning data for RSAs to be refreshed and presented to sector in AY 2015/16 for use in 2016/14 OAs.
Key themes and milestones for colleges
Achieving our ambitions for the young workforce requires a focus on the following themes in relation to colleges:
- Young people able to access more vocational options during the senior phase of secondary school, which deliver routes into good jobs and careers, developed through effective partnership between schools, colleges, local authorities and other partners.
- Improving opportunities and experiences for all learners, with a focus on reducing gender imbalance on course take-up.
- Provision aligned with economic needs and regional planning, with a focus on STEM where appropriate.
- Supporting college leaders and staff to develop the skills required to meet the Commission’s ambitions for the sector.
- Further developing college outcome agreements to underpin improvements and measure progress.
The milestones set out below detail what this will involve over the lifetime of the programme.
During 2015 – 2016, we are already seeing:
- An interim evaluation of the early adopter programme published by SFC in November 2015 with a final report to be published early in 2016;
- A partnership baselining exercise undertaken to establish the nature and effectiveness of local authority-school-college partnership in relation to Senior Phase Vocational Pathways, with a national level analysis disseminated to partners in November 2015;
- Publication by Scottish Funding Council of an analysis of the commitments made by colleges in their 2015-16 outcome agreements – including plans to develop senior phase vocational pathways in all regions;
- Meetings with SG, Directors of Education and their Regional College Principals to consider how these partnerships are developing at a strategic level and the changes that have been introduced with the implementation of DYW.
And in the remainder of 2015-16 we expect to see:
- A plan from Scottish Funding Council to enhance college engagement in Community Planning Partnerships;
- Young people benefitting from better work-related learning experiences;
- Scottish Funding Council report on college leaver destinations for 2013-14 leavers;
- Scottish Funding Council publishing their Gender Action Plan in early 2016 focussing on addressing gender imbalances and plans to address gender inequality more broadly working with Skills Development Scotland and other partners;
- College outcome agreements signed off for academic year 2016-17, with implementation plans agreed with local authorities;
- Scottish Funding Council developing a strategy to promote the value to employers of engaging with colleges;
- Capacity building to support enhanced employer engagement in the college sector;
- Regional curriculum planning established informed by Skills Investment Plans and Regional Skills Assessments;
- New work placement standards for college learners published.
During 2016 – 2017, we will see:
- College outcome agreements for academic year 2017-18 demonstrating more opportunities for young people, building on the development of senior phase vocational pathways;
- Scottish Funding Council implementing their plan to reduce gender imbalance on courses which they will report on annually;
- STEM prioritised within college curriculum planning, where appropriate;
- A new standard for work experience in place for colleges;
- Scottish Funding Council report on college leaver destinations for 2014-15 leavers;
- Colleges outcome agreements will reflect active and effective engagement with employers and in the community planning process, regional curriculum planning established, informed by Skills Investment Plans and Regional Skills Assessments.
During 2017 – 2018, we will see:
- All colleges offering vocational options to the majority of secondary schools in their region;
- College outcome agreements for academic year 2018-19 signed off, showing evidence of well-developed partnerships with secondary schools, local authorities and employers;
- Publication of improved college quality and performance information.
During 2018 – 2019, we will see:
- College outcome agreements for academic year 2019-20 signed off, showing evidence of well-developed partnerships with secondary schools, local authorities and employers;
- Vocational course options available across all schools.
During 2019 – 2020, we will see:
- College outcome agreements for academic year 2020-21 reflect a regional curriculum, with vocational options widely available, informed by secondary schools, local authorities and employers.
During 2020 – 2021, we will see:
- College outcome agreements for academic year 2021-22 reflect a regional curriculum, with vocational options widely available, informed by secondary schools, local authorities and employers.
Education Working for All! Recommendations
This activity delivers recommendations 4, 5, 6, 12, 17, 29, 34.
KPI 1 - Be one of the top five performing countries in the EU for youth unemployment by reducing the relative ratio of youth unemployment to 25-64 unemployment to the level of the fifth best country in the EU by 2021.
KPI 2 - Be one of the top five performing countries in the EU for youth unemployment by reducing the youth unemployment rate to match the fifth best country in the EU by 2021.
KPI 4 - Increase the percentage of 16-24 year old college students who have successfully completed a full time course moving into employment or higher level study.
KPI 6 - Increase the percentage of employers recruiting young people directly from education to 35 per cent by 2018.
KPI 8 - Increase by 5 percentage points the minority gender share in each of the 10 largest and most imbalanced college superclasses by 2021.