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Poor English and maths in healthcare revealed

Alexis Karmar
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Research into Higher Education Institution (HEI) English and maths entry requirements for HE health related vocational programmes revealed some deeper issues. From Alexis Karmar – Skills for Health.

Weak English and maths skills are present in the adult population in England in general. ‘In England, ‘9 million people struggle with basic quantitative reasoning or have difficulty with simple written information’ (Małgorzata, et al. 2016: 9, OECD).

Beyond the Brand is a new Skills for Health report for Health Education England (HEE) on English and maths for career progression in the healthcare workforce.

Healthcare Employers, HEIs and others suggested this national position is reflected in the sector. They said weak English and maths skills are an obstacle to progression at all levels in the healthcare sector.

There was concern about how English and maths skills are defined, taught and assessed at all levels. And uncertainty about the connection between English and maths qualifications and the everyday use of English and maths at and for work in healthcare.

The report suggests that improvements can be made in the short term and longer term. The report underpins Skills for Health’s initiative, which will drive further action by March 2018: Connect the sector to Government strategic policy initiatives, designed to improve basic skills in English and maths in England; Examine English and Maths requirements in the healthcare Apprenticeship standards for Senior Healthcare Support Worker and Registered Nurse and describe how these requirements are met in practice – and share examples; Search out practical actions designed to improve basic skills learning in English and maths, at all levels of training and occupation in the sector and share these.

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