Don't knock college teaching

1st July 2005 at 01:00
Your article "Job-related classes praised" (TES, June 17) pictured a Sparsholt college student holding piglets as part of an article on "increased flexibility programmes" for under-16s in colleges. It also suggested that "disaffected young teens thrive on college courses - despite poor teaching".

Sparsholt college's teaching was highly praised in its Office for Standards in Education report last summer. To quote the report: "The overall standard of teaching and learning is considerably higher than for colleges of a similar type."

The college and its partner schools are proud of their achievement in 14-16 vocational provision. The Ofsted report on "increased flexibility" in November 2002 identified "good to very good teaching". The emphasis is on obtaining a vocational qualification so all students take an accredited programme.

The first 14-16 cohort completed their programme last year with 96 per cent achieving their qualification and 71 per cent progressing to FE on leaving school. In addition schools have found that the participants attendance and motivation at school improved.

Young people on increased flexibility programmes have thrived here through very good teaching, as they have at many other land-based colleges.

Nic Robinson

Assistant principal Sparsholt College, Hampshire

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