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Colleges bring home the benefits

Peer assessors may be new for schools but they have been involved in inspections of further education colleges in Wales since 1992.

Liz Kidd, head of Estyn's inspection division for post-16 education and training, said: "Institutions have really welcomed the initiative. Apart from seeing practice elsewhere, teachers will be able to bring back what they have learned to their own establishments."

More than 20 of the 200-plus lecturers at Coleg Sir Gar in Carmarthenshire are peer assessors. Brian Robinson, college principal, says peer assessment has helped raise standards in FE and provided "powerful" in-service training for staff.

"Because peer assessors are actively engaged in FE, they are very aware of the key issues. It makes the inspection more robust. And they see good practice and bring it back. We have gained an awful lot from it."

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