• COVID has turbo-charged change in a world already in flux – how can our education system keep pace?

    By Rod Bristow, President, Pearson UK


    What do the Olympics, Glastonbury, GCSEs and A levels all have in common? They were all cancelled owing to the global pandemic. But whilst Olympic hopefuls should get the chance to compete again in 2021, the situation proved more complex for UK students, who wrestled with cancelled exams and the stress of revised outcomes during the summer.

    Many of us have been hit by the pandemic, but few more so than young learners. For many preparing for their next steps in life this has been a terribly difficult time. And the conversation about exams is at the centre of the storm with more people asking much more fundamental questions about A level, GCSE and BTEC.

    The exams we deliver are for the ‘public good’ and it is critical we don’t just ask the questions on other people’s minds, but that we answer them too. Leading a debate about exams is now much needed.

    So, over the coming weeks that’s what we are doing with the Future of Assessments project. We will engage a wide range of stakeholders: further and higher education, employers and - critically - teachers, parents and learners, to listen, and to respond. We want to hear from as many people as possible and will share details on how you can get involved when we launch our consultation early in the new year.

    The UK's education system is widely respected. Our curriculum, qualifications and assessment are recognised, valued and adopted by countries around the world. They don’t just help 'the public', they help people make progress in their lives, through learning. I want this project to play a critical role in shaping the future of UK qualifications, and today we are calling on key selected experts to contribute to it. Indeed, contributions from the entire community will be welcome.

    Learn more about our Future of Qualifications and Assessment research >

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  • Helping the UK learn new skills through 2020

    By Gary Gates, SVP Global Business & UK Higher Education


    Back when Pearson launched UK Learns in May the impact of Covid was being painfully felt
    across the UK job market, with swathes of workers furloughed or made unemployed
    in sectors from retail to hospitality.

    Pearson, with help from partners including FutureLearn, OU OpenLearn, the School of Marketing and the National Extension College, set up UK Learns to offer workers a free, wide-ranging selection of online courses.

    The aim being to help them learn new skills and earn qualifications or accreditations that could open up better job and career opportunities.

    Now, as we reach the end of 2020 but unfortunately not the end of job cuts or economic uncertainty, we wanted to share the courses that have proved most popular so far as well as highlighting the breadth of courses available on UK Learns.

    In terms of popular take up, we have seen people wanting to brush up on their core English and Maths skills, exploring traditional professions such as bookkeeping and accounting but also looking to equip themselves for the digital age through short introductory courses, such as ‘Marketing on Instagram’.

    Another real sign of the times, showing that people are taking major stock of their future job direction – whether through choice or lack thereof – is the popularity of the course ‘Which career for me?’

    Since launch we have been regularly adding new courses onto the UK Learns platform. We now have over 400 courses available covering everything from Advertising, Energy & Utilities and Professional Skills through to Pharmaceuticals and Teaching.

    And we are not stopping – just this month new categories have been added in Engineering
    & Manufacturing, Business, Consulting & Management and Environment & Agriculture.

    We are proud that UK Learns does and will continue to offer support for our workforce, as when and they need it, to help them start on the ladder of learning new skills and opening up new job

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  • It’s time we set teachers free

    By Rod Bristow

    Research that we have just released (1 December 2020) reveals too much time is being spent on activities that do not necessarily improve outcomes for pupils, and in which teachers do not believe. Endless data drops, recording verbal feedback, and onerous marking has led to a workload burden that many agree is contributing to teachers choosing to leave the profession.

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