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Inspectors Warn Quality of Basic Skills Training Must Improve


The government's Skills for Life programme has attracted learners, but has yet to deliver significant improvements in the quality of literacy and numeracy education for adults, according to a report by Oftsted.

Skills for Life in Colleges: One Year On, evaluates the Government’s Skills for Life Strategy which aims to improve adult literacy and numeracy skills.

Inspectors found that the strategy had been successful in attracting learners from priority groups and in helping more learners gain nationally recognised qualifications, estimating that between 2001 and 2004, 800,000 learners achieved at least one literacy and numeracy, or English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) qualification.

However, Ofsted warned that the strategy had yet to deliver significant improvements in the quality of education provision.

The report said that while the quality of education provision for literacy and numeracy improved overall in General Further Education colleges, almost a fifth of provision was still unsatisfactory and the quality of provision for English for speakers of other languages deteriorated, with nearly a third unsatisfactory compared with 26% a year ago.

It also noted a shortage of teachers with the necessary expertise and qualifications to teach literacy, numeracy and English for Speakers of Other Languages in all types of colleges.

Generic teacher training courses for further education teachers, it said, failed to tackle the weak literacy and numeracy of some trainers and so a significant minority of vocational tutors, who are expected to teach literacy and numaracy, have inadequate skills in these areas.

Director of Education for Ofsted Miriam Rosen said: "The Government has made a great deal of progress in tackling this problem by introducing initiatives and funding. But more needs to be done and it needs to be done quickly. We must ensure that as many people as possible have the basic skills of numeracy and literacy that many of us take for granted."


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