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Pathfinder Seek Bringing More Learners into FE and Widen Participation

Pathfinder Seeking to Bring More Learners into FE

Encouraging more people to enter education and training in ways that the so called “conventional” model does not allow is one of the key tasks for the Further Education sector.

Although the Foster Review of Further Education called for a greater focus on skills for work, neither he nor anyone else within FE intends for this to take away from the traditional role, namely that of widening participation in education and training through innovative learning solutions. The National Institute for Adult Continuing Education (NIACE) are taking positive steps in this direction by leading the Learning for Living Consortium.

The Consortium

The consortium seeks to work with a range of learners who face barriers in accessing learning. A significant project launched and being supported by the consortium is the Pathfinder project, aiming to demonstrate the best examples of good practice in the teaching and learning of literacy, language and numeracy skills, specifically for learners who have either learning difficulties or disabilities.

NIACE are leading the Consortium, with the aim of researching and developing guidance for teachers, practitioners, carers, support workers and employers. Amongst the areas focused on are Access to Employment, Pre-Entry and Entry Levels, Bilingual Learners, ESOL and Learning Difficulties, Teacher Training Modules, Family Learning, raining in the use of the Pre-Entry Curriculum Framework for those working in health and social care settings.

End of the Pilot

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The pilot for this project ended in July of 2005, which also saw the draft guidance evaluated in more than eighty provider sites across the nation. These providers included colleges, prisons and offender institutions, care settings, day centres, work based learning providers and voluntary and community organisations. The guidance document is being prepared once again, this time taking into account this feedback, including the profiling of the learners who embarked on the training courses.

Amongst the methods used to expand and further this project are the use of ICT and multimedia to promote inclusion and participation, which will see regional workshops being launched this month, and the extension of the development area in working with the probation service. The final guidance document will be launched in March of 2006, through a series of events nationwide.

Jethro Marsh

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