From education to employment

FE News speaks to Lawrence Miles

I recently tried to order a CD of Liszt’s Schubert Song Transcriptions. The assistant in the high street store asked a most revealing question: “Where does “L” come in the alphabet?”

The correct answer I immediately realised would have to be spatial, (“In the middle”) rather than the technical but unhelpful, “Between K and M”. Which brings me to the National Improvement Strategy (NIS).

Everything is failing not because of a lack of strategy but because nobody wants to empower the teachers and trainers to get on with the job that they know how to do. The schools and further education & training curriculum that was teacher/trainer led has been invaded by meddling politicians and big business.

I do not attend any focus groups on retailing or advisory groups on steel making because it is not my job; I can”t help. The NIS can”t help learners and it can”t help teachers and trainers unless colleges and training providers are empowered instead of being clobbered with meaningless strategy-drivel.

It’s about cash and power: give further education and training the cash and power and the job will be done. Drafting strategies with strange notions like: “Review the current arrangements to establish the most effective forms of partnering and collaboration for contestability”, or “develop capacity to design curriculum and qualifications to meet client needs as the basis for competitive advantage” is not the way forward.

Lawrence Miles, Chief Officer, Independent Organisation for Licensed Verifiers and Assessors (IVA).

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