Education reforms not biased, says ICA

The English ICA has set out to allay fears its proposed education’. syllabus is better suited to the needs of the Big Six than to the rank and file.

Peter Wyman, chairman of the institute’s education and training directorate, presented the planned revamp to an E&T forum last Friday. There was broad support for the proposals, but two Group A firms expressed concern that they had not been sufficiently catered for.

A Baker Tilly spokesman said he was worried the new syllabus favoured ‘specialisation’, and there ‘is more advantage in that for the Big Six’.

A central plank of the revamped syllabus is the introduction of two ‘elective’ or optional subjects, as well as a specialist subject that may relate to work experience.

Speaking after the forum, another Group A firm’s training manager commented: ‘We are certainly worried about the lack of consultation with Group A firms. Much of the support seemed to be from the Big Six.’

Wyman said this was untrue. ‘It is impossible to satisfy everyone,’ he said. ‘The chairman of the long-term syllabus working party, which made a major contribution to our proposals, was Hugh Aldous, then senior partner of Robson Rhodes.

‘What I would also say to the smaller firms is they have told me they were very upset about the general practice paper being dropped.

We want to re-introduce that paper,’ he added.

The proposals now move into a consultation period, lasting until 1 July.

Wyman aims to visit any firm which has concerns, or wants to discuss the proposals face-to-face.

Although there were few critics of the proposals for the syllabus structure, several members of the forum said they expected the real battle would begin during the second consultative stage, when the detailed content of the syllabus will be discussed. ‘This will be a long and tiring process,’ said Wyman. ‘But no-one has told me this is the wrong thing to do – we have to reform.’

Related reading