Open Futures developed for primary education and its use in tertiary education

In 2014, Central Bedfordshire College became the first further education college to adopt askit as a strategy to drive improvements in teaching, learning and assessment following its October 2013 Ofsted inspection grade of Good. The impact askit has had on the College is evident in the College’s February 2016 UK Higher Education Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) Review and April 2016 Ofsted inspection report. The College’s QAA Review notes, “… the following features of good practice … the introduction of philosophical enquiry as a methodology across all programmes to enhance student capacity for analytical, critical and creative thinking” (CBC QAA Review Report, February 2016). Ofsted similarly note, “Teachers have adopted an approach which gives students the confidence to develop further their thinking and reasoning skills and to become more independent in their learning” (CBC Ofsted Inspection Report, April 2016).

Since the College adopted askit, it has seen an improvement in student achievement, with 86% of students achieving their main technical and vocational qualifications in 2015/16, 2% above the national average for students taking technical and vocational qualifications, and a significant improvement in the grades those students achieved. In 2013/14, Central Bedfordshire College’s value-added score, a score given to schools and colleges by the Department for Education (DfE) for student achievement of high grades, placed the College in the bottom quartile of colleges nationally. In 2015/16, the College’s value-added score placed it in the top 12%. As a result, in 2015/16, 98% of students attending Central Bedfordshire College progressed onto positive destinations in higher levels of education and training, into apprenticeships or into work.

The College Leadership acknowledges the work undertaken by the Helen Hamlyn Trust, Sapere, and researchers at the University of Newcastle and other institutions, to introduce and develop philosophical enquiry in UK primary and secondary schools.