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Elwa's customers.

SIR - I wish to take issue with the comments made by Gethin Lewis, Secretary NUT Cymru, in the article (December 31) regarding public sector use of plain English.

Mr Lewis criticised the advert for the Ministerial Advisory Group on Education and Lifelong Learning, for prospective members to be 'highly customer focused', on the grounds that 'the use of corporate language was inappropriate and demeaning' and that 'learning is about people not products'. Also, that Elwa is somehow responsible for this 'gobbledegook'.

This reveals his very narrow view of education services that in reality go beyond schools provision that lives in the protected world of meeting statutory requirements, a 'comfy zone'. There are many thousands of post school learners, often paying for the services, who are indeed customers.

The Elwa reform from a funding to a purchasing model has its critics but from my experience as a former adult education manager and current school governor, the benefits have been explicit and tangible.

These reforms have brought about a customer oriented approach resulting in a quality assured product (the learning programmes), reliable learning outcomes to measure pupil/student progress, greater accountability for managers and teaching staff and tangible evidence of value for money. Pupils/learners benefit from a more structured learning experience and recorded achievements to measure personal progress.

Schools have taken on improved management techniques for the benefit of staff and pupils alike and why should the public sector not utilise the appropriate corporate practices? Public funding is a scarce resource and everyone benefits from financial probity, good quality learning products and improved outcomes.

Far from 'gobbledegook', the education service in Wales is going from strength to strength by responding to the Welsh Assembly Government imperatives aimed to drive up standards and efficiency for the benefit of all the people involved and achieving national targets.


Dyffryn View, Bryncoch, Neath
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Jan 5, 2006
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