The government’s announcement yesterday (1 October) of extra support to upskill college staff in remote learning practice is welcome – but doesn’t go far enough.
The package includes 80 grants of £1,000 to further education (FE) providers across England, to fund additional training and support for mentors and coaches specialising in assisting teachers with online education.
The measure responds to a recommendation in the joint Jisc and AoC report, shaping the digital future of FE and skills (pdf).
Jisc’s managing director of FE and skills, Robin Ghurburhun, says:
“We welcome this initial funding commitment in response to one of our recommendations to support FE staff with digital delivery.
“However, 80 grants are insufficient. Greater investment is required if we are to effect rapid and sustained improvements in the quality of support for staff and improve learner online experiences.”
Collated following a series of webinars over the summer attended by more than 400 FE practitioners, shaping the digital future of FE and skills says:
“Across the sector, staff have stepped up to the challenge of remote learning and teaching. Many have felt positive about the shift, with feedback in our webinars indicating that 66% of respondents thought the digital shift had a positive impact on their team and 55% highlighting an increase in their levels of productivity.
“However, while some staff thrive, others struggle with digital capabilities and confidence. In the webinars, staff confirmed that a significant minority of teaching staff were not confident and were concerned that they would not be able to deliver the quality of teaching they expected of themselves (49%).”
Shaping the digital future of FE and skills makes a series of recommendations for Jisc, the AoC and other sector bodies, for government and for colleges, all designed to lay the groundwork for a digital evolution across the sector.