‘A’ Levels and The Baccalaureat

How would a broader based curriculum along international lines improve the ‘gold standard’- Dr Dick Evans investigates. Following the fiasco of the introduction of Curriculum 2000 (C2k) the Secretary of State has suggested the possible development and introduction of a baccalaureat type examination to replace the GCE ‘A’ level. The supposed gold standard protected and cherished by successive governments has suddenly lost its lustre as a result of this year’s problems with the GCE ‘A’ level results. The current arrangements for post-16 qualifications and the new national qualifications framework introduced in 2000 followed largely from the major review carried out

21st Century Skills

Realising Our Potential, The Skills Strategy White Paper. This was a real opportunity to provide a lead in combating future skill shortages, however Dr Dick Evans wonders whether anything tangible has been offered. The aim of the national Skills Strategy is to ensure that employers have the right skills to support the success of their businesses and individuals have the skills they need to be both employable and personally fulfilled. I intend to adopt a different perspective in reviewing the White Paper. Other contributors to ‘t’ magazine will provide a detailed analysis of the proposals and recommendations contained in the

50% Participation in HE: Realistic or just a Dream?

Rather than just plucking targets from the air, the UK deserves a systematic analysis of the expansion of Higher Education. Dick Evans explains why. The present government has set a target of a 50% participation in Higher Education, by the year 2010 for people under the age of 30. Obviously it’s an important and worthy aspiration but is it realistic or possible? As Barry Sheerman (Chair of the Commons Education Committee) stated, “If it is a figure plucked from the air it could seriously distort the higher education system. The priority now is immediate action to raise pay in universities

A Continuing Crisis

New scientific and technological frontiers open every day, but is the bias against science and maths in our culture and education system about to let us down again? Dick Evans reports. Long-running worries about science and mathematics in this country show little sign of abating. Having just returned from  East Asia I am more than ever convinced that we are simply not producing enough people qualified in the physical sciences, mathematics, statistics and engineering. By contrast, they are highly valued and flourishing in much of Aisa, with ever growing numbers of students leaving school, college and university qualified in scientific

A Fair Approach to Recruitment.

College recruitment should take into account the needs of students, not just the colleges’ own reputation, writes Richard Evans. Recent coverage, both in the tabloid and broad sheet Press has highlighted the current concerns about the ethics and morality of some of the techniques being introduced by a few colleges in recruiting students. Massive amounts of money relative to the overall college budget are now being spent in some colleges on publicity and incentives for prospective students. These incentives take the form either of financial or other inviting bounties. These activities most certainly raise serious and fundamental questions about the

A Potent Mixture

Carefully managed ‘mixed economy’ institutions offer both potential and challenge, says Richard Evans. First of all, what do I mean by a mixed economy college? It is an institution that is committed to an open access philosophy offering a very wide range and comprehensive provision spanning adult basic, adult education, further and higher education. Programmes of adult education set alongside A Levels, NVQ and GNVQ awards, HNCs, HNDs, degrees, postgraduate and professional awards. This provision attracts and serves local, regional and national participation. The mixed economy college is one constituent of the FE sector. The sector is very diverse and

A Real Skills Shortage (Part 1)

In a two-part article, Dick Evans, Principal of Stockport College, considers the current state of education and training of people wishing to take up careers in engineering and manufacturing based industries. In spite of the dramatic (and much discussed) decline in this country’s engineering and manufacturing base, it still represents a significant proportion of our exports and gross domestic product. The UK engineering and manufacturing industry operates in such areas as aerospace, automotive components, general machinery and equipment and process industries. The industries employ approximately 1.7 million people and accounts for 50% of all our fixed investment expenditure of £50billion.

A Real Skills Shortage (Part 2)

Part Two of Dick Evans article explores the issues and the current health of education and training in engineering and related disciplines in the post-16 sectors. It is at the post-16 stage that a clearer picture emerges about the future shape of engineering education and training. After the compulsory stage of education one can become more confident (or pessimistic) of the likely ‘flow’ of engineers and potential engineers into employment and/or further and higher education studies. Further Education The first difficulty presented when investigating further and vocational education training in FE is the lack of a reliable and up-to-date statistical

A Short Account of Maltese and Chinese Archaeology/Architecture/Astronomy

This is a transcript of a talk given in July 2015 at the Chinese Cultural Centre in Valletta Introduction. In this short talk I will attempt to highlight the fascinating history of Chinese and Maltese architecture and astronomy and the important role archaeology plays in such a study. I cannot do justice to this vast and complex topic but hope I can at least identify some cultural links between the subjects and between the two countries. I hope this transcript of the presentation proves interesting and useful. The topic is referred to as Archaeostronomy (sorry about that mouth full) which


In this article Dick Evans provides thoughts on Apprenticeships – Past, Present and Future At last it has been accepted that the work-based route within the national qualifica . tion framework is important and an essential element to tackling skill shortages. A whole series of developments are now in place including vocational/applied GCSEs and the reforms to the apprenticeship schemes. One critically important element of these initiatives is the proposed extension and refinement of the frameworks for apprenticeships. The government has announced a significant expansion in numbers for the existing apprenticeship programmes as well as an extension both for younger