It was Professor Michael Barber, not Richard Layard, who suggested at the first meeting that there should be a National Literacy Guarantee and a National Numeracy Guarantee. He did not suggest this because there were no existing qualifications and tests in adult literacy and numeracy, but because there were rather too many. I think we found 60.
All of these qualifications had little recognition outside of adult basic skills schemes, including the qualifications we had developed at the Basic Skills Agency. Michael Barber's proposal was to replace all of these with two new highly regarded and valued qualifications. This proposal did create considerable discussion and debate. However, by the time of the publication of the Moser Report, all of us agreed and signed up to the recommendations about a new qualification based on a test - including Annette Zera.
As part of the debate we consulted adults in basic skills programmes. A majority of them supported the Michael Barber proposal. This contrasted with many professionals in adult education who were opposed to it. What was the difference between these two groups? Most adult education professionals already have lots of qualifications; almost all adults with poor basic skills do not have any.
Basic Skills Agency
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London WC1A 1NU
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