Summer classes fail students;FE Focus

5th February 1999 at 00:00
ADULTS hoping to improve their basic skills by attending summer school have been short-changed, according to inspectors, writes Jon Slater.

An extra pound;5.5 million was put into basic skills schools last year but inspections found teaching standards to be "significantly lower" than in other courses.

In a report published this week, only 52 per cent of lessons were graded as good or outstanding. This compares with 65 per cent across further education as a whole. Teaching of English as a second language received the lowest grades - only 38 per cent of lessons were awarded either of the top two grades.

Weaknesses included low expectations, inadequate recording and assessment of student progress and a failure to link the curriculum to students' experience or future aspiration.

The report - Basic Skills Summer Schools - said many of the weaknesses were due to the lack of time colleges had to organise their programmes, but other problems "were the result of too little emphasis on quality and measurable outcomes for students."

More than 17,000 students enrolled in 200 summer school programmes last year.

Jim Donaldson, Further Education Funding Council chief inspector, said:

"Raising quality and standards is an issue in the FE sector as a whole and one we are vigorously addressing. This report shows there is work to be done."

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