“May you live in interesting times” is a frequently quoted Chinese curse and arguably highly applicable to the recent world of UK education and how it impacts upon the HE sector. The aftermath of the A Level debacle left me dispirited for a number of reasons. The lack of quality debate in our nation broadsheet press about examination systems and processes was lamentable. Also had nobody spotted the fact that last year in Scotland there was a dress rehearsal, with heads rolling, for the now similar event south of the border?

In this edition you will find numerous references to the interim Cooke Report and SEDA’s response is reported. As you read this it is likely that the final version will have been released, though I fear it is at risk of being overshadowed by the White Paper promised for January 2003. The trend of recent years indicates that most of the strategy to be contained in this document will be in the public domain upon promulgation. Already there has been significant coverage of top up fees in the press as well as discussions about a graduate tax. Hardly surprising with the current fiscal dilemma taxing the mind of the Chancellor of the Exchequer. The DfES has released a set of Discussion papers (http://www.dfes.gov.uk/highereducation/discussion.shtml) and invited comments. An intelligent reader will be able to deduce much of the White Paper contents. By my calculations something like six of the eight papers refer explicitly or tangentially to funding issues. A core aspect of the White Paper will be achieving the 50% participation rate by 2010 – this is non-negotiable, though the method of calculation is unlikely to be congruent with earlier approaches. I sense that in many ways the themes, policies and strategies to be found in the White Paper will all have been heard before, but now put together as a radical and tightly directed package.

For those of us who attempted to support the widening of access to and participation in HE during the 1980s this is likely to be a moment of profound regrets. The moves, nearly twenty years ago, to introduce modularisation, CATS and the appropriate use of AP(E)L mechanisms had the potential to significantly change the face of UK higher education. Had subsequent funding been made on the basis of modules being studied rather than on mode of study – the full time route remaining the paradigm – by now a real 50% participation rate would have been surpassed.

SEDA comes clean refers to a number of recent proposed changes and developments. By now you should have noticed that this editorial has been produced with a different cleaner font and layout. From Issue 4.1 this will become the standard format.

The lead article in this Issue addresses one of SEDA’s core activities – supporting educational developments in institutions. The SEDA Professional Development Framework (SEDA-PDF), which replaces Teacher Accreditation and PDHE, was launched at the November conference by Professor Liz Beaty, Director of Learning and Teaching at HEFCE. The new unified framework has been developed to more appropriately meet the current needs of HE institutions.

Tony Brand


SEDA’s New Professional Development Framework 
David Baume FSEDA, Rhona Sharpe FSEDA & Tony Brand

Are You Reasonably Adjusted? 
Lawrie Phipps

Skills are Dead! Long Live Skills! 
Andrew Honeybone

The Imaginative Curriculum Project & Constructive Alignment 
James Wisom

Developing & Implementing an Institutional Learning & Teaching Strategy 
Interview with Bland Tomkinson

SEDA’s Response to the (Interim) Cooke Report

Book Reviews

The Educational Development Service at Cambridge University 
Interview with Liz Elvidge & Richard Wakeford

ALT-C 2002 – conference report 
Karen Kear

A Perspective on Further Education 
Julie Hall