Education inspectors reports retention rate problems

Drop out levels are too high on some courses says inspectorate

Horticulture National Certificate retention rates are too low at one well-known college, say inspectors. However, Her Majesty’s Inspectorate for Education (HMIE) rep- orts that greenkeeping and horticulture students are generally well catered for at Elmwood College, in Cupar, Fife. Last year’s retention rates were 70 per cent for the NC horticulture, 78 per cent for HNC horticulture and 80 per cent for NC greenkeeping. In contrast, the HNC golf course management course retained 95 per cent of students. The report said: “The retention rate was low in the National Certificate horticulture programme and more than a few units of this programme had low attainment.” Elmwood’s assistant principal Diane Rawlinson said: “We had a weak year last year. The use of the term ‘low’ should be taken in the context of an outstanding HMIE review.” She added that the college has “revitalised” its curriculum with more practical work and e-learning. The department won five “very good” and four “good” ratings. It educates 98 horticulture and 418 greenkeeping students. Inspectors who visited the college in November found: “The wide range of programmes available reflected the needs of local, national and, in the case of greenkeeping, international employers.” Lecturers showed “enthusiasm and commitment to the delivery of high standards”. Students showed “good knowledge and understanding of recent work”.

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