Reforms cost pound;1.5m a college

7th April 2000 at 01:00
Colleges need up to pound;1.5 million each to retrain staff and recruit new lecturers if they are to carry out the radical curriculum reforms demanded by the Government from September.

The extent of the shortfall is revealed in a national survey by The TES FE Focus on how well prepared colleges are for the Curriculum 2000 reforms.

Details of the survey are being analysed in a series of articles in FE Focus. As this magazine was going to press, college managers were concerned that the Government may have left important decisions on staffing and funding too late.

Forty per cent of the 426 colleges in England and Wales had responded to the survey by mid-March. All said they needed additional staff. One said it needed at least 15 extra teaching staff to cope with the demands.

Most senior managers had not even begun to calculate the additional bureaucratic burdens on support staff, largely because such demands were too ill-defined.

Curriculum 2000 aims to broaden A-leel (or equivalent) studies of all 16 to 19-year-olds in school, college or workplace training. Students will be encouraged to take five rather than three subjects for at least one of their two years.

Studies will be modular, with examinations at the end of each of six units of study per subject and with new-style examined AS-levels at the end of the first year. Key skills such as numeracy and literacy will also be part of the programmes for all students.

Six out of ten colleges responding to the survey said information technology and management information systems were inadequate to meet the new demands. The biggest problems cited were those involving IT in the curriculum and the teaching of key skills.

Three quarters of colleges said they needed more accommodation to cope with the demands of Curriculum 2000. Most of it (60 per cent) was needed for IT. Around half the colleges said moves from classroom to open-plan teaching would help solve space problems.

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