Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

Leadership

Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

Leadership

Article excerpt

supporting learners is good for the soul

In this tumultuous time, colleges must remember their social mission, argues principal Alan Sherry

When the college sector is facing such enormous challenges, it is helpful to focus on the aspects of our work that really make a difference. My institution, Glasgow Kelvin College, serves some of the city's most deprived communities. Many local residents have few or no qualifications, poor employment prospects and a negative experience of past education.

The college is committed to delivering lifelong learning. To support that, we have developed a community-based network of learning centres in partnership with local third sector organisations and sponsored by the Wheatley Group. There are now 28 learning centres in the north and east of the city providing fast, online access to college learning materials and tutor support to groups of previously disengaged local residents.

So why do we do this? First, we believe in the power of education to help people change their lives. In our experience, delivering tailored learning in the community is the best way to develop the confidence that learners need to progress to the next stage of education.

Second, by working with partners we develop capacity for the individuals, organisations and communities we serve. This contributes to the regeneration of our local area and provides people with the tools to hold professionals (including me) to account.

Third, it enables people to develop the confidence and skills to complete mainstream programmes that will give them the experience they need to compete effectively for sustainable jobs. …

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