Lecturers still 'in the dark' about purpose of curriculum
College staff continue to have a "generally low level of awareness" of the new curriculum and the implications for their sector.
The final study by Glasgow University researchers on what teachers and lecturers thought of A Curriculum for Excellence (see page 1) found that FE lecturers remain "in the dark".
It added: "This lack of awareness can easily have significant consequences leading to an incorrect view regarding the main purpose of the curriculum."
It quoted one FE lecturer who believed that one of the reasons behind the reform was that "there's not enough people passing the subjects, so ... we're going to make it easier (to) get more people through".
College leaders have complained in the past that they were not sufficiently consulted in the early stages, despite the pivotal role they are expected to play in delivering Skills for Work and vocational courses in the new curriculum.
But the Glasgow University study did find that "college staff wanted to familiarise themselves with A Curriculum for Excellence, knowing that college practices needed to change to enable transformation to flow from secondary into further education".
Some staff believed that the attributes which the new curriculum aimed to develop in pupils, such as creating successful learners and confident individuals, were already at the heart of FE and would fit in with college practice. Colleges suggested that the reforms had a stronger emphasis on skills and attitudes than knowledge, which would also sit well with FE.
But lecturers pointed out that the balance between skills, knowledge and attitudes would have to be adjusted to reflect the needs of the individual learner. There would also have to be flexibility in shifting the balance of the four capacities "as they are not on an equal footing for most occasions".
One of the vital roles colleges could play in making a success of the new curriculum, they said, flowed from their "rich experience" of dealing with disaffected learners.