Wigan student satisfaction far higher than rest of the country

Wigan and Leigh College
Wigan and Leigh College

Student satisfaction in Wigan’s colleges and training organisations is far higher than that in the rest of the country, figures reveal.

Each year the Department for Education asks thousands of further education learners about their courses and whether they are preparing them for their chosen careers.

The latest survey, which covers the 2018-19 academic year, attracted 163 entries from students in Wigan’s colleges and training centres.

Questions covered courses and activities funded by the DfE in further education centres and specialist colleges, as well as provided directly by local authorities.

They did not include sixth form colleges.

The respondents rated the area’s council-run further education providers 95.1 out of a maximum 100 marks.

This was a rise compared to the previous year, when they received a score of 94.6, and above the 86.5 median rating across England.

The median rating is the middle point within a list of ratings, and is used to exclude extreme values.

More than 345,000 people took part in the survey across England.

Nationwide, 82 per cent of learners were “likely” or “extremely likely” to recommend their college or training provider to friends or family. This was no change from the previous year.

Respondents reported high levels of satisfaction with the way staff treated learners and that their course or activity met expectations.

But when asked in another question about whether their studies were preparing them for the future, 11 per cent answered with a satisfaction score of five out of 10 or lower.

Commenting on the findings, Secretary of State for Education Gavin Williamson said: “It’s great to see that 82 per cent of all students would recommend their training provider to friends or family in this survey.

“We will continue to work with providers to make sure more people receive the best education and training possible and standards remain high.

“Further education and skills are a main priority for me and for this Government as the Prime Minister has clearly outlined.

“As the first education secretary to take charge of further education and skills, I intend to drive forward this agenda and make sure that pupils who are getting their GCSE results have many different avenues available to them that are of the highest quality they can be.”

Despite encouraging levels of student satisfaction, the Association of Colleges, which represents further education centres across the country, cautioned that the sector still faces major challenges.

The association’s chief executive, David Hughes, said: “While college staff work tirelessly to deliver high-quality education and training, major policy changes alongside severe funding cuts have made it difficult for

colleges.

“It is vital that further education is properly funded so learners are adequately prepared for work, for life and for whatever Brexit brings.”