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Praise for the arts in colleges

The quality of teachers' and students' work in art, design and the performing arts is better than in any other part of the further education curriculum, college inspectors say in the first of a series of national studies of achievement, writes Ian Nash.

Success is "substantially" due to the large number of part-time lecturers recruited because they are practising artists, designers and performers. "Students benefit from this up-to-date professional experience and from the continuing involvement of many full-time lecturing staff as arts practitioners," the report says.

Art, design, media studies and the performing arts make up the third largest area of courses funded by the Further Education Funding Council with 100, 000 full-time and 250,000 part-time students.

But inspectors were concerned that the new general national vocational qualifications were failing to reach the levels of the more established awards.

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