Key skills are not for rubbishing

YET again the hard work of teachers and students in key skills is being rubbished by so-called academics who are remote from the modern post-16 curriculum: "Key skills unlock door to university education" (TES, September 6).

Contrary to the article's misplaced assertion, key skills do not ensure "minimum competence". Students who acquire key skills are more likely to be successful at university than those who do not.

This is because those who study key skills at level 3 must show they have developed rigorous powers of research, analysis, writing techniques, mathematical competence and high-level computer skills in the context of the subjects they are studying for advanced courses. They also have to pass written tests to illustrate their ability to transfer the skills to generic contexts as well.

The article simply ignored the reality of achievement in key skills, choosing instead to dismiss it as second-rate.

I and all key skills practitioners will continue to demand equality from universities until admissions tutors take the trouble to find out what key skills actually are before defaming those who work to acquire them.

Teresa Murray Key skills manager, Mid Kent College Maidstone Road, Chatham, Kent

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