In this week's TES Further: The dangers of relying on volunteers for Esol provision

7th October 2016 at 16:45
Also: How happy students could be the key to colleges' financial health

Simons says

In this week’s TES Further, Sarah Simons writes about why volunteers can't replace experienced English for Speakers of Other Languages (Esol) teachers (article free for subscribers).  “Volunteering has a long legacy in adult and community education,” Sarah says. But she warns that volunteeers cannot – and shouldn’t – replace qualified staff.

Meanwhile, in her column, Sarah also tells us that she isn't an angel just because she works with people who have disabilities (article free for subscribers). “When you work with people with disabilities, there is a phrase you hear a lot: ‘It must be so rewarding’,” she writes. “But the rewards from teaching learners with disabilities are in no way linked to celestial attributes.”

Esol for all

TES reporter Julia Belgutay reveals how a group of teachers are delivering their own Esol strategy for England. Unlike Scotland and Wales, England has no national Esol strategy, and next week the National Association for Teaching English and Other Community Languages to Adults (Natecla) will unveil its own draft strategy calling for a major overhaul in how Esol is taught, coordinated and funded. Drawn up after consultation with teachers, the report calls for a national panel to lead the coordination of Esol strategy, including “language needs across key services such as health, schools and social services”. 

Meanwhile, TES FE editor Stephen Exley writes that even in a sector with financial troubles, cash-strapped colleges regularly dip into their own pockets for the benefit of their learners. But what is needed is “a well-thought-out Esol strategy ensuring adequate and fair levels of support for individuals across the country”. After all, if Scotland and Wales can manage it, why can’t England?

Why happy students are the future

Happy students are the key to financial stability, writes Holger Bollmann, director of WPM Education. He writes that with government support in short supply, colleges must secure other forms of income – “colleges must first refocus their efforts on improving student satisfaction and institutional reputation to attract more fee-paying students”.

Norman Crowther, a national official for post-16 education at the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, takes issue with the promises made in the Post-16 Skills Plan. He argues that the plan is "not just one of the biggest promises the FE sector has heard, but the most hollow” – because it fails to establish a system of vocational education and training.


This week FErret talks principals’ salaries (article free for subscribers) – and singles out one particular college, where the pay on offer for the top job has dropped dramatically. He also takes a look at area reviews and how many "transition grants" – the carrots thrust under the noses of colleges to incentivise them to merge – have been approved.

All this and much, much more in this week's TES Further.

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