Partners in progress

March 13, 1998

I WAS surprised by the negative tone of the article on the Further Education Funding Council's excellent report on collaborative provision (THES, March 6).

The report shows that the quality of teaching and learning on collaborative programmes is good in most cases; in 57 per cent of programmes inspected, strengths clearly outweighed weaknesses - a very similar profile of grades to that on mainstream programmes which have not grown rapidly. The balance of strengths and weaknesses is typical of the inspectors' other cross-sector reports; as usual they are keen to identify both good practice and areas for improvement. It is also typical that quality assurance was identified as an area for improvement, but the report states clearly that "there are no inherent weaknesses in collaborative provision".

The FE21 Group of colleges is committed to a partnership approach to teaching and learning. We are very pleased with the constructive approach in the report. Collaborative provision has achieved a good deal in a short time, as the report shows. We recognise the "teething problems", but can take from this report some clear guidelines for good practice to help improve our programmes.

Jan Dominey. Information officer, Progress Training Ltd, Barnsley

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