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This Week's News 29.06.18

Survey results: ESFA Employer/Learner Surveys, ITS Survey and Ofsted Learner Survey

We are pleased to announce the results of the surveys we have undertaken over the past several months. Many thanks to all who have spared a few moments to take these surveys. The information we gather from them is beneficial in helping us improve our services that we provide to our ITS Learners and Employers.

Ofsted Surveys 2017/18

To view our results for the Employer View Survey, please click here.
To view our results for the Learner View Survey, please click here.

ESFA Surveys

We are very pleased with our FE Choices survey results. Overall learner satisfaction in 2017/2018 was 97.2%. Overall employer satisfaction in 2017/18 was 92%.
To view our results for the ESFA Employer survey, please click here.
To view our results for the ESFA Learner survey, please click here.

ITS Survey 2018

Here is what a sample of our partner salons say they like about working with ITS:

"They take into consideration my salon and work with us as an individual."
"Approachable, friendly staff. They work well with trainees."
"Great help with the theory."
"ITS staff work hand in hand with trainees."

ITS Apprentice achiever surveys 2018

100% of learners said that they "would recommend ITS to a friend"
100% of learners said that "learning about health and safety" was key to keeping themselves and others safe in the salon.
100% of learners said that the apprenticeship has given the skills and knowledge to progress their careers.


NHF members demand reform on VAT registration thresholds

VAT is a topic which really gets salon and barbershop owners going, so there was a massive response to a National Hairdressers Federation (NHF) survey to collect views for a recent government 'call for evidence' on VAT registration thresholds. At £85,000 the VAT threshold in the UK is considerably higher than in the rest of the EU where it averages around £29,000 which is roughly in line with average earnings. The government has already pledged not to change the UK VAT threshold before April 2020, but the very fact there is a call for evidence suggests that in the longer-term things may change. In its response to the call for evidence, the NHF has championed the changes members most want to see:

  • Raising the VAT threshold significantly for all small businesses, say to £500,000 which would benefit the majority of salons. However, this option is likely to be ruled out because it would cost the Treasury between £3bn and £6bn to implement.
  • Reducing the rate of VAT on labour-intensive industries, such as hairdressing, barbering and beauty where wages are the highest cost of doing business and there is little scope for claiming VAT back on products. Some EU member states already pay lower rates of VAT including Ireland (9%), the Netherlands (6%), Poland (8%), Finland (10%) and Luxembourg (8%). So far, the government has resisted NHF calls for action on this.
  • Smoothing the 'cliff edge' so VAT doesn't become payable in full as soon as a trader crosses the threshold, which immediately lands them with a bill of £17,000.

    Ways this could be done include:

    • tiered rates of VAT after crossing the threshold
    • making better use of the flat rate VAT scheme which allows businesses with turnover of less than £150,000 to pay VAT at 13% (or 16.5% for 'limited cost' traders)
    • allow labour-service industries to pay VAT at 20% once they reach £85,000 in turnover but only on the portion about £85,000, not the full amount.

Many salons also commented on what they see as unequal treatment of VAT between salons who employ their staff and those using self-employed individuals. Mostly, the earnings of the self-employed would not reach £85,000 as they trade as individual businesses. But a salon employing their staff is treated as one business and will be paying VAT on their combined turnover and therefore having to charge their clients an extra 20%. Hilary Hall, NHF chief executive, said, "We already know VAT registration thresholds will stay as they are until at least April 2020, so there will be no overnight changes. The government's call for evidence is their first step to understanding the key issues and how current VAT policy affects different sectors. We have responded to this, and to a Treasury Committee enquiry on the same topic, to make sure the voice of the hair and beauty industry is heard loud and clear."


Ofsted: How we inspect careers guidance

Ofsted don't have a preferred style of careers education, information, advice and guidance (CEIAG) for schools, colleges and other education providers they inspect. They do expect, as a standard, that young people will be offered CEIAG (Careers Education Information Advice and Guidance) that includes guidance on their subject choices, discussion on their career aspirations and how they can achieve them and how they're progressing towards this. Work experience and guidance on a vocational or academic path and routes post-16 whether those be A levels, training or vocational education should all be available. For young people who have special educational needs or disabilities, another very important element should be included: preparation for independence, or supported independence, to equip these young people for further study. For our inspections of special schools this is an especially important feature. Inspectors assess the quality of schools' and colleges' careers provision. It has always been important, but from January 2018 it is now compulsory for Ofsted to comment in inspection reports on careers guidance for colleges and schools. The DfE's statutory guidance, published in January 2018, makes clear that 'a successful careers guidance programme will also be reflected in higher numbers of pupils progressing to positive destinations such as apprenticeships, technical routes, sixth form colleges, further education colleges, universities or employment'. During an inspection, inspectors must bear in mind the government's careers strategy and the Gatsby career guidance benchmarks. The current picture is much more encouraging than has been the case in the past. Ofsted looked at a representative sample of around 120 school inspection reports from the past two years and found that careers guidance within schools is improving. Ofsted saw evidence of integrated, coherent and effective careers strategies in more schools, with more frequent opportunities for pupils to access workshops, themed events, work experience and contact with employers. The publication of the careers strategy has given schools and colleges a solid framework to build their careers offer around. But there is always more to do.


Ofsted: New apprenticeship provider monitoring visits a 'concern'

The results of the early monitoring visits to new apprenticeship providers are "concerning", Ofsted's deputy director for FE has said, after a quarter were given 'insufficient progress' verdicts. Paul Joyce said, "Our monitoring visits to new directly funded providers are designed to give an early assessment of the quality of provision," he told delegates. "I have to say that the outcomes to date are concerning. Around a quarter of the judgements inspectors have awarded have been 'insufficient progress' - meaning that providers are making slow progress and the demonstrable impact on learners has been negligible. "Apprentices deserve better than that. "This is a concern to me and Ofsted continues to work closely with the Department for Education and the Education and Skills Funding Agency to discuss and agree arrangements for the quality monitoring of these new directly funded providers." Numerous new providers have failed to come up to scratch over the last few months. Perhaps the most damning report was for Key6, whose training Ofsted described as "not fit for purpose". The ESFA banned it from delivery, but this only lasted for two months. Mr Joyce pointed out that the monitoring visits show a "really mixed picture in relation to quality". Mr Joyce said he is expecting a policy announcement "imminently" in relation to intervention at these failing providers. "We continue to talk with the DfE and ESFA about how best to monitor the new apprenticeship providers," he said. "That is in terms of our resources and conversations in terms of their intervention policy as a result of our judgements. Those negotiations are continuing, progressing well, and I am expecting the DfE to make a policy announcement imminently in relation to their intervention policy, and I do hope to hear very soon about the additional resources we are likely to get to carry out more monitoring visits." The watchdog will soon be given as much as £7 million to visit every new apprenticeship provider. Critically, it will also have the final say over quality, after the Skills Minister Anne Milton admitted in May to the education select committee that it wasn't clear who was accountable for quality at these new providers.


No concessions on employer fees for apprenticeships

Issues with the 10-per-cent fee that small businesses must pay when they take on apprentices have been "noted", but there will be no announcement on a rule change anytime soon, the skills minister has said. She said: "What one battles with and all governments do is to demonstrate causality. I think that is a hard thing here. If you took away the 10-per-cent co-investment there would be less money in the pot to do apprenticeships. You get less apprentices for your money. But it is about demonstrating causality and that us the key for me. When you have a lot of other factors out there it is quite hard to demonstrate." Association of Employment and Learning Provider (AELP) boss Mark Dawe hit back at Ms Milton's claim saying: "Providers take the 10-per-cent hit so there would be no impact on numbers," he said. Numbers are a concern but at the moment it is from lack of demand and we need to change that. We will be in almost daily communication on this matter. The apprenticeship levy is paid by employers with an annual payroll of £3 million or more, who can then spend their contributions on apprenticeship training. Smaller employers can also access the funds generated through the levy, although they must pay 10-per-cent towards the cost of the training. There was no mandatory charge before May last year, simply an assumed contribution for apprentices aged 19 and over. Since last May, only 16- to 18-year-olds at employers with fewer than 50 staff are fully funded and therefore free to train. We have been heavily campaigning to remove the 10-per-cent rule as we believe it puts SMEs off apprenticeships, and is the reason why starts have fallen so much since the introduction of the levy. Latest figures show that starts for March were down 52 per cent compared with the same period in 2017.


More young people seeking help for eating disorders

In 2017/18 Childline carried out over 5,900 counselling sessions with young people about eating disorders. Nine in 10 counselling sessions were with girls, including 148 sessions with girls aged 10-11. A third of young people said they experienced a negative or distorted body image. The rise comes after the NSPCC's warnings about pressure on the child mental health system, and how thousands of young people are left without support. Liz Rowe, Head of Childline at NSPCC said: "Young people tell us that they feel under pressure to look a certain way and live a certain life, and it's worrying that we are seeing so many children contact us about eating disorders as a result, in some cases when they are still at primary school. It's crucial that all those struggling with such debilitating eating problems are given all the help they need to make a full recovery so that they can go on to enjoy their childhood and teenage years to the full. The starting point on that journey is to open up and talk to someone who can listen without judgement, which is why Childline is such a crucial service for these thousands of children." NSPCC - talking about difficult topics


Photo competition 2018: Hair through the decades

The closing date has now expired. Thank you to those that entered this year's photographic competition. The entries we have will be judged soon, winners will be contacted directly and the results will be announced in This Week's News and on Facebook. Watch this space!


Team ITS warmly welcomes these learners who started their Apprenticeships this week

Denise Di Stefano - Level 2 Hair Professional Apprenticeship
Chloe Power - Level 2 Hair Professional Apprenticeship


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