Further education lecturers can't live on praise alone

From: NATFHE - The University & College Lecturers' Union
Published: Thu Sep 01 2005

A survey has found learners in further education, adult and community learning, and work-based learning are highly satisfied with the quality of teaching they receive, prompting NATFHE to renew calls for fairer funding for colleges and better pay for lecturers.

The National Learner Satisfaction Survey for 2003-4, published this week by the Learning and Skills Council, found that 91% of learners in further education (including general FE colleges, sixth form colleges and specialist colleges) reported that they were satisfied with their quality of teaching they received.

A second part of the survey showed that 92% of learners in adult and community learning were satisfied with the quality of teaching they received, while a third part revealed that 90% of those in work-based learning were satisfied.

The Learning and Skills Council described the positive results as, ‘a real tribute to those working in the sector’.

This is the third such survey, and all have indicated similar, high satisfaction levels. However, the latest survey questioned far more learners than previous surveys - 43,000 - so there is increased confidence in the results.

While pleased by the results, NATFHE – The University & College Lecturers’ Union, has warned that such standards cannot be maintained if the shocking 13% gap between college and schools’ funding is not closed, and if low pay in FE continues to deter young people from opting to teach in colleges.

Barry Lovejoy, head of the colleges department at lecturers’ union NATFHE, said:

‘NATFHE is pleased that the high quality of teaching in colleges and adult education has earned further recognition from both learners and the LSC. We are keen to do even better but high standards are likely to decline if the government fails to bridge the 13% funding gap between colleges and schools, and if it does nothing to make a college lecturer career more attractive. Lecturers cannot survive on praise alone.’


Improving Quality
• National Learner Satisfaction Survey: Adult and Community Learning Providers Report 2003/04
• National Learner Satisfaction Survey: Work Based Learning Report 2003/04
• National Learner Satisfaction Survey: Further Education Report 2003/04

• More than twice as many 16-18-year-olds study in colleges than schools - 701,000 in FE colleges or sixth form colleges compared with just 345,000 in schools (2003/4)
• 100,000 14-16-year-olds study in FE (2003/4) and this will rise to 250,000 by 2008
• Further education institutions have a 72% pass rate – if schools were measured in a similiar way their pass rate would be 50%
• Teachers and lecturers top the unpaid overtime league table doing an average of 11 hours and 36 minutes extra work a week
• Lecturing staff turnover figures increased from 11% to 14.3% between September 2003-September 2004
• Colleges are responsible for 90% of the adults who gain basic skills qualifications
• Colleges are responsible for half of all Level 3 qualifications in the workforce
• More than 40% of those entering higher education go via colleges
• Every year, colleges train three million adults
• 41% of teenagers in FE are from the bottom three socio-economic groups compared with 31% in sixth form colleges and 22% in school sixth forms
• Ethnic minority students make up 14% of learners in FE compared with 8% of the general population

NATFHE is the largest trade union and professional association for lecturers, trainers, researchers and managers, working in further and higher education, throughout England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The union also has members in adult and prison education services. Total membership stands at 68,000.

NATFHE supports the Association of Colleges Fair Funding campaign.
For details and to sign an online petition, visit: www.natfhe.org.uk

Company: NATFHE - The University & College Lecturers' Union
Contact Name: Vicky Wilks
Contact Email: vwilks@natfhe.org.uk
Contact Phone: 020-7520 3207

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