Following last year’s survey by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the Business, Innovation and Skills Committee is scrutinising the standards of adult English and maths. Evidence suggests that England and Northern Ireland are falling behind many countries in terms of literacy and numeracy levels.
The committee, who met for the first time on 11 February, discussed potential solutions including the need for specialist teacher training and ‘peer-to-peer’ training. They acknowledged that there are difficulties in identifying those who need support in raising their Functional Skills, but identified the Job Centre Plus – who last year referred 500,000 people to skills provision – as an institution that could help to recognise adults with low levels of English and maths.
One major issue that needs to be addressed, in the opinion of Dr Helen Casey, is the general conception that anybody can teach Functional Skills, as this clearly isn’t true. It was agreed that there is a need for more specialist adult skills tutors – particularly those who teach maths.