Drop-out rate worries

June 19, 1998

THE government is worried about high drop-out rates on some further education courses, further and higher education minister Baroness Blackstone told the Association of Colleges conference held to discuss the Learning Age green paper this week.

She said: "We are aware that when one has relatively open access, it is likely drop-out rates will be relatively high, but there are big differences between colleges. We need to ensure that not so many people are lost en route. One way for government to help would be better training for further education staff in supporting students who are likely to drop out."

Judith Norrington, the AoC's curriculum director, said drop-out rates on some courses were as high as one third, but these were isolated cases.

Baroness Blackstone also signalled ministerial willingness to intervene in mismanaged colleges where necessary, although she added, "we hope never to have to use those powers".

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