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As a fully qualified person who delivers English and maths, I find that many colleges and especially schools are failing learners. I teach both GCSE and Functional Skills in the 2 areas and observe many providers just using the same dreadfully dreary teaching delivery models that failed these learners in the first place. The fact that most learners in FE are recent school leavers, is an indictment of the failure of schools to deliver adequate training that enables learners to achieve a pass at A – C, a damning reflection of 11 years spent in school. FE colleges fare little better. In my experience, learners are placed on courses that usually benefit the college funding system, rather than the individual. The same old approach of attending for 9 months, sitting in a classroom, listening to a teacher deliver a wholly classroom based course, identical to the GCSE courses that they have failed to achieve, does not inspire learning to take place. Employers are sick and tired of recruiting new people, only to find their maths and English skills are so poor. Many people delivering maths and English are not even qualified to do so. Being a single page ahead of the class is not how these subjects should be delivered, yet too many courses are taught this way. Catering for different learning styles by providing different handouts is never going to address the issue and never has been successful in doing so. Many of the so called experienced people who write articles about how to improve the system, are the same people who failed the learners whilst at school and in college. If they are so expert in their fields, why did they fail to address these problems when they were teaching? As the old adage says, do not tell me, show me.
I don’t think we have found an accurate way of measuring learning yet. We need to be far more creative. So many talented youngsters “FAIL” at school because of the mode of assessment, not because they haven’t learnt anything. We need to track skills, trust teachers and stop making people feel like their jobs are at risk if students don’t pass a test that doesn’t measure accurately anyway! Let teachers enjoy teaching and learners enjoy learning.
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months until apprenticeship levy funding kicks-in